Home News Netanyahu’s rift with Israeli military deepens, future of Gaza war in question

Netanyahu’s rift with Israeli military deepens, future of Gaza war in question

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But analysts say the Israeli military is most concerned about ensuring that hard-won tactical victories against Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, are not in vain. To that end, General Hajari said there must be an alternative to Hamas in Gaza.

Netanyahu has sought to avoid making a decision on how to govern Gaza after the war ends. The United States and other allies say the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, should eventually take over Gaza, while Netanyahu’s political survival depends on far-right coalition partners supporting permanent Israeli rule over Gaza.

So, facing pressure from all sides, Mr. Netanyahu essentially said “no.” He ruled out a Palestinian Authority administration and the creation of new Israeli settlements in Gaza, and vowed to continue the offensive until Hamas was eliminated. He said nothing about who would ultimately be responsible for Gaza’s 2.2 million residents.

General Shamni said Admiral Hajari’s comments appeared designed to pressure Netanyahu to take a stand. “You have to decide, tell us what you want,” General Shamni said. “You don’t want a Palestinian Authority, OK. Tell us what you want. A military government? They didn’t even say that much.”

He added: “The government as a whole has no position.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said last month that Netanyahu’s inability to make a clear choice would inevitably lead Israel toward two undesirable outcomes: either an Israeli military regime occupying Gaza or Hamas eventually returning to power.

“We will pay a senseless price in blood, a heavy price in the form of many victims and a heavy economic price,” Galante said in a televised address.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza face growing lawlessness. There is no police to maintain law and order, and public services such as garbage collection are almost non-existent. Thousands of tons of humanitarian aid are stranded in southern Gaza. Israel’s main border crossing on the Gaza side Aid groups say it is too dangerous to distribute the supplies.

Amir Avivi, a retired Israeli brigadier general who chairs the Hawks Forum of former security officials, said Israeli military leaders are increasingly concerned they might be asked to shoulder that burden. “That’s the last thing they want,” General Avivi said, even though he personally supports long-term Israeli control of the region.

General Avivi said some believed the war’s objectives had been achieved as far as possible and were eager to end the campaign in Gaza and turn their attention to growing tensions with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

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