Netanyahu says ‘day after plan’ includes working with local Gazans to set up civil administration

The Israeli prime minister also said allowing Hamas leadership to go into exile after their surrender was on the table


Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make a statement as the US President listens on before a meeting in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. US President Joe Biden landed in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023 as Middle East anger flared after hundreds were killed when a rocket struck a hospital in war-torn Gaza, with Israel and the Palestinians quick to trade blame. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the ‘day after plan’ following the successful removal of Hamas from the Gaza Strip would need to include allowing local Gazans to take administrative charge of the area.

During a podcast interview, Netanyahu said the first step after the war would require a “sustained demilitarisation” of the area to prevent any terrorist resurgence from emerging.

He explained: “If you look at what you need to do after this war is won, you’ll have to have sustained demilitarisation by Israel. I don’t see any other power that is willing to do it, but I’ll be happy to see [other countries assist].”

Explaining the decision to keep a degree of military presence in Gaza, he said the IDF has discovered that in “any place we left, whether it be in Lebanon where after we left Iran walked in with Hezbollah… we left Gaza and Iran walked in with Hamas and Islamic Jihad… we pulled out of a few cities in Judea and Samaria about 20 years ago and immediately the radicals took over.”

After that, he said, you “need civilian administration, which we hope to do with local Gazans who are now part of Hamas and who are now committed to our destruction. Possibly, and I would hope, with the aid of Arab states and other states internationally.”
The third thing required is “the reconstruction that does not allow the rebuilding of this terrorist infrastructure including these tunnels that Hamas have dug.”

He said that when people always ask, “What are you going to do on the day after [the war], well, the first thing is to make sure that [there is] a day after.”

He said the IDF has already tried working with local Gazan civilians on matters of dealing with food aid provided by Israel, but Hamas began looting the food. The IDF also attempted to utilise local Gazans to distribute food, but “they were shot in the back of the head [by Hamas]”.

He said civilian would not “come in [to help permanently] until they know you either destroyed Hamas, or you’re about to destroy Hamas and that’s a certainty. Because if they think that Hamas is going to emerge from the rubble and retake Gaza, they’re not going to commit suicide.”

Regarding avenues for peace, the Israeli prime minister admitted to podcaster Dan Senor that the option of allowing Hamas leadership to go into exile outside Gaza via corridors has always been on the table.

“This war could be over tomorrow if Hamas lays down its arms and surrenders, returns the hostages, the war is over,” he said. “It’s up to them, the idea of exile is there, we have always discussed it. But I think the most important thing is surrender. If they lay down their arms, the war is over.”

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