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War on Gaza: Israel defence minister proposes security control over Gaza

Yoav Gallant introduces plan for Israel to keep security control over Gaza, as Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah renews threat to avenge Saleh al-Arouri killing
destroyed buildings in Gaza as seen from Israel
Buildings lie in ruins in Gaza, as seen from Israel on 2 January 2024 (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant revealed a plan on Thursday that would see Israel keep security control over the Gaza Strip while an undefined, Israeli-approved Palestinian body would oversee day-to-day administration.

The plan was revealed to the media ahead of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Israel, his fourth since the war in Gaza began, to discuss plans for post-war possibilities in the Palestinian enclave.

The US had previously called for revitalising the Palestinian Authority and handing it control over the Gaza Strip, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007, in a process that would lead to the formation of a Palestinian state.

Israel expressed its disapproval of this proposal, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even openly boasted about stopping the creation of a Palestinian state.

Months before Gallant’s proposal, Netanyahu had already spoken about taking control of security in Gaza, which many saw as a call for occupation of the strip.

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Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, reiterated in a speech on Friday that the Lebanese armed group will respond to Israel’s strike on Beirut’s Dahieh suburb, which killed senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri.

“If we remain silent over the killing of al-Arouri, all of Lebanon will be exposed,” he said, addressing a crowd of supporters and party officials through a screen in Lebanon’s Beqaa region.

Israel-Palestine war: Hamas leader's killing in Beirut complicates US efforts to prevent Gaza war spillover
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The leader also discussed in detail his party’s role in the current Israeli war in Gaza, as Hezbollah has been engaging in back-and-forth strikes with Israel since the day after Hamas’s assault on 7 October.

Nasrallah said his party’s role is to reduce the pressure on Hamas in Gaza, by forcing the Israeli army to spread out across Israel’s borders rather than focus its full force on the strip.

He also said that, while Israel has not revealed clear numbers of its own casualties, over 2,000 Israeli soldiers have been injured in their confrontations with Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon.

Middle East Eye could not independently verify these figures. 

“What is happening on the northern front is a real humiliation of the enemy’s army,” he said.

Increasingly dire situation in Gaza

As Israel’s war in Gaza enters its fourth month, the situation for Palestinians in the enclave is deteriorating all the time.

The death toll has now surpassed 22,600 people.

A doctor for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) said the healthcare system in Gaza has now fallen apart due to continuous Israeli attacks.

“Last night was horrific. The system has fallen apart - not even the best triage system can withstand this. The operating rooms are full. We have run out of morphine. There's no space for dignity in dying,” MAP doctor James Smith said.

As Israeli bombardments continue, the western part of Gaza City can no longer be reached by ambulances and rescue teams. A Middle East Eye reporter spoke of his attempt to stop packs of dogs from eating the corpses of Palestinians killed and trapped under the rubble in Gaza City.

"Yesterday I saw two of them fight over the dead boy's leg,” the reporter said. “I had to step in and take it away from them before burying it. It's heart-breaking."

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