How Netanyahu’s Postwar Plan for Gaza Clashes With International Goals

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s framework released Friday for a postwar order in Gaza appeared to keep his government on a collision course with the United States and much of the rest of the world over the enclave’s future.

Here are some of the major points of friction between what the Israeli leader has proposed and what other governments have said they want after the war in Gaza is over:

The Biden administration and Arab states have called for both Gaza and the occupied West Bank to become part of a future Palestinian state alongside Israel, arguing that decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved with an eventual a two-state solution.

But Mr. Netanyahu’s plans appear to rule out a sovereign Palestinian state in the near term, saying that Israel would indefinitely maintain military control across “all of the territory west of the Jordan” river, including the enclave. It does not explicitly rule out a Palestinian state, but its wording would make an independent territory including Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank all but impossible for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Netanyahu’s framework calls for sealing off Gaza’s border with Egypt — the territory’s only crossing not controlled by Israel — in order to prevent what it described as cross-border smuggling. It would be done in coordination with Egypt and with the backing of the United States, his proposal said.

But it was not clear whether the Biden administration would support such a move. And it would likely ratchet up tensions with Egypt: The government in Cairo has called Israeli threats to send troops into a so-called buffer zone separating Gaza from the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Desert “a serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations.”

The framework envisions a “security space” inside Gaza along the border with Israel, in order to prevent another raid like the one on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led assailants crossed the border and killed some 1,200 people in Israel, according to Israeli officials. Israeli forces have been clearing out the area, demolishing scores of homes and leveling factories, drawing international condemnation.

One United Nations expert has said that the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes could constitute a war crime. The United States has rejected any permanent reduction in the size of Gaza’s territory, although it has signaled that it might support a temporary buffer zone, for example to allow displaced Israelis to return to border communities. Mr. Netanyahu said that the zone should last “as long as the security need exists.”

The Biden administration has called for a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority — run by aging leader Mahmoud Abbas — to take the reins in Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal. The Palestinian body administers some areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Mr. Netanyahu’s proposal would instead see civilian administrative control in Gaza handed to “local stakeholders with managerial experience” who are “not affiliated with countries or entities that support terrorism.” That likely rules out Mr. Abbas’s government in its current form, which Mr. Netanyahu has previously criticized in identical terms.



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