The future of Gaza after the war is unclear. Israel’s settler movement sees opportunity
Israeli soldiers with rifles in their hands and weapons on their shoulders are talking to the camera. Behind them is the shell of a building in Gaza.
“We are here adding lights to the people of Israel after Black Saturday,” one man says in a video circulated on Telegram. “We are occupying, deporting and settling. Capture, exile and settle. Did you hear Bibi? Occupy, deport and settle.”
As Israel’s war against Hamas enters its fourth month, the Israeli government has said little, at least officially, about its plans for Gaza after the war.
Hamas took control of the area – home to about 2.2 million Palestinians – from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, two years after Israel unilaterally withdrew all of its troops and about 8,000 Jewish residents. Who will rule Israel after its war against Hamas ends is an open question.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the idea of establishing Jewish settlements, but said only that neither Hamas nor the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority should rule the area, and Israel would maintain “full security control”.
Defense Minister Yoav Galant, a member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, published his own proposal, saying “there should be no Israeli presence in Gaza” but without giving details of what governance there would look like.
In that void a group has emerged (once fringe, but now in the ruling coalition) that hopes to regain full control over Israel, recapture Gaza, and even expel the Palestinians. And his ideas permeate general debate.