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The day after in Gaza: more details about the Galant program

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson Unit, Oketz Soldiers in Gaza
Additional details from the "Financial Times" after revealing the Galant plan for the next day in the Gaza Strip: "bubbles" in several neighborhoods in the north of the Gaza Strip, humanitarian aid to local Palestinians - who will gradually become responsible for the civil administration in the area. From the Israeli side, there are also skeptical voices regarding the program: "Fantasy".

Israel intends to begin an experiment of a “day after” control model in Gaza – a plan whose main purpose is to create “bubbles” without Hamas, and which was met with skepticism among those briefed on the matter. This was reported yesterday (Monday) in the “Financial Times”, three days after the “Washington Post” revealed Defense Minister Yoav Galant’s plan for the transition to the day after, which includes 24 such “bubbles”.

According to six sources involved in the issue, the pilot for the “humanitarian enclaves” will soon begin in neighborhoods in the north of the Gaza Strip such as Atatra, Beit Hanun and Beit Lahia. According to the report, there are quite a few doubts about the success of the pilot – both because of the broad support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and because of the Israeli government’s opposition to the details, and because of the only lukewarm backing from Arab countries.

According to the plan, Israel will transfer aid from the Erez crossing to local Palestinians who have passed inspection, and they will deliver it to the residents. Gradually their responsibilities will be extended to civil administration in the region. The IDF, at least in the first phase, will be responsible for security. The report states that if the plan is successful, Israel will expand the “bubbles” south to additional areas in the Gaza Strip in order to replace the Hamas government in a deal to release the hostages.

The current initiative comes after months of international pressure on the Netanyahu government to publish a plan for the day after. Two sources who were briefed on the plan said that it is a continuation of the Israeli attempts that Hamas de facto thwarted in a short time. “We have already tried this in three different areas in the north of the Gaza Strip and in its center, including through local tribes. All of them were beaten or murdered by Hamas,” said a former Israeli senior official who was briefed on the plans of the day after.

Another source said that Israeli attempts to identify local Palestinians who are willing to rule Gaza instead of Hamas have been going on since November, and are bearing no fruit. “The plan is the last attempt at this. Israel’s idea is that someone – Arab countries, the international community – will pay for it, and locals in Gaza will carry it out. But no one buys it,” he claimed.

At the end of last week, the “Washington Post” published Gallant’s plan for the next day’s transition, which he presented to his American interlocutors during his visit to Washington. “This plan will be promoted if Hamas continues to reject the proposal for a ceasefire and a hostage deal,” Galant said. According to the plan, the transition to the day after in Gaza will be supervised by a committee led by the United States and moderate Arab countries. An international force, which may include forces from Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, will oversee security, and American forces will provide command and control along with logistics outside of Gaza, possibly from Egypt. Gradually, a Palestinian force will take responsibility for local security.

American officials said that they support the core of the plan, but noted that the moderate Arab countries will not back it – unless the Palestinian Authority is directly involved. They also warned that those countries want what the Saudis call a “political horizon” towards a Palestinian state – which Galant and most Israelis do not support.

The transition plan in Gaza will be implemented in stages, first in the north of the Gaza Strip – and when conditions allow it in the south as well. Galant’s vision includes the expansion of the security “bubbles” that will eventually include 24 government regions in the Gaza Strip. Officials in the Biden administration supported the idea, but sounded skeptical about the possibility that those “ink spots” on the map would expand quickly.

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