Home News Four scenarios for the next phase of the Gaza war, as ‘intense’...

Four scenarios for the next phase of the Gaza war, as ‘intense’ fighting comes to an end

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Israel’s Prime Minister says the war in the Gaza Strip will soon enter a new phase.

“The intense war with Hamas is coming to an end,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a television interview on Sunday. “It does not mean that the war is coming to an end, but that the intense phase of the war is coming to an end.”

But whatever comfort those words may bring after more than half a year of horrific bloodshed, Netanyahu was quick to make two points clear: A ceasefire in Gaza is far from being achieved, and the next battle is likely to take place in Lebanon, possibly against Hamas’ ally Hezbollah.

He said that after withdrawing from Gaza, “we will be able to move some of our forces to the north.”

Netanyahu stopped short of announcing an invasion of Lebanon, which would have likely resulted in heavy losses for both Israel and Lebanon, but left room for a diplomatic solution to the dispute with Hezbollah.

Any diplomatic solution to the Gaza issue remains uncertain, in part because Netanyahu’s coalition would likely collapse if Israel stopped fighting in Gaza without toppling the Hamas regime.

However, the prime minister appeared to suggest that Israel would not seek to launch a major ground invasion of cities in central Gaza, the only area where the Israeli army has not carried out such attacks, after completing its current military operation against Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

Although Israeli leaders Since January They are moving toward lower-intensity warfare, and the end of the Rafah operation could complete that process.

Netanyahu’s speech, as well as comments made by Defense Minister Yoav Galant in Washington on Monday, suggest that the focus of Israel’s political discourse and strategic planning is shifting toward its northern border with Lebanon.

Galant’s office said in a statement on Monday that he had discussed with U.S. officials “Gaza’s transition to ‘Phase C’ and its implications for the region, including for Lebanon and beyond.”

Early in the war, Galant outlined a three-phase operational plan that included heavy air strikes against Hamas targets and infrastructure; a ground operation aimed at “eliminating pockets of resistance”; and a third phase, Phase C, which would create “a new security reality for Israeli citizens.”

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