The Israeli government said Wednesday it is too early to predict scenarios for governance of the Gaza Strip after it ousts Hamas, but it’s already discussing the prospect internationally.
“It is still very premature to talk about the ‘day after’ Hamas scenarios,” said government spokesman Eylon Levy.
“I wish the ‘day after’ Hamas were next week, but this is probably going to take longer.”
“We’re exploring several contingencies together with our international partners for what the ‘day after’ will look like,” he said.
But the “common denominator” is that the Gaza Strip will be “demilitarised” and “must never again” become a “terror nest”, he said.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and two years later imposed a crippling air, sea and land blockade, as Hamas took control of the Palestinian territory.
The month-long war erupted when Hamas militants killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in the worst attack in Israel since it was founded in 1948, according to Israeli officials.
The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 10,500 people, also mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory military campaign to destroy Hamas.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz talked of an “alternative mechanism for Gaza” after the military operation is complete.
“But Hamas will not be part of it,” he said.
Israel has said it is fighting in the heart of Gaza City in the north of the Palestinian enclave.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously said “Israel will, for an indefinite period… have the overall security responsibility” for the Gaza Strip, home to 2.4 million.
While Washington has given its full backing to Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Wednesday there should be “no reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends”.