• Friday, 14 June 2024

Netanyahu says he has no plans for Israeli settlements in Gaza

Netanyahu says he has no plans for Israeli settlements in Gaza

Tel Aviv, 22 May 2024 (dpa/MIA) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told US media that Israel has no plans to build settlements in the Gaza Strip once the war there is over.

"Resettling Gaza... was never in the cards," Netanyahu said in an interview with the US broadcaster CNN on Tuesday. "Some of my constituents are not happy about it, but that's my position."

Several of the right-wing nationalist ministers in Netanyahu's coalition had repeatedly spoken out in favour of resettling the Gaza Strip with Jewish settlers. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir even declared on Tuesday that he would like to live there himself.

As soon as Palestinian militant organization Hamas is defeated, a sustainable demilitarization of the Gaza Strip must be achieved, Netanyahu told CNN, adding that "the only force that can prevent the resurgence of terrorism for the foreseeable future is Israel."

"At the same time we want - I want - a civilian administration that is run by Gazans who are neither Hamas nor committed to our destruction."

On Saturday Benny Gantz, a member of Israel's war cabinet, said that he and other members of his centre-right National Union party would leave Netanyahu's government if the prime minister did not present a plan for the post-war order in the Gaza Strip by June 8.

The 64-year-old retired army general and former defence minister joined the war cabinet as a minister without portfolio.

The parties involved sought to demonstrate national unity in the wake of the attacks led by Hamas and other extremist groups on October 7, in which more than 1,200 people were killed. The unprecedented attack triggered the Gaza war as Israel responded with massive airstrikes and a ground offensive.

National Union is actually an opposition party. In opinion polls, it is currently far ahead of Netanyahu's Likud party.

Netanyahu has previously said he wanted the territory to remain under Israeli military control for the foreseeable future. So far, he has refused to present a plan for the administration and reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after the end of the war.

Photo: MIA archive