New Delhi : According to an Israeli government official on Tuesday, Israel has no intention of occupying Gaza after its current conflict with the Palestinian militant organization Hamas concludes.
“Our goal is not to take over Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior advisor Mark Regev stated during an online media briefing on the war, “We don’t want to rule over Gaza.”
“Gaza must be demilitarized, though, as we insist.”
The conflict began on October 7, when rockets fired into Israel by Hamas, a terrorist organization, resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people in atrocities throughout southern towns and villages.
The Israeli airstrikes in retaliation and the siege of the coastal enclave have killed around 12,000 Palestinians, according to reports in the Middle East media that reference the health ministry operated by Hamas.
Regev stated that after Hamas is driven out of the enclave, a Palestinian government might be established.
“The Gaza people now live in poverty and violence thanks to Hamas.”
Regev stated that Arab nations will participate in the reconstruction effort and that Israel’s international allies will wish to see Gaza rebuilt.
He stated, “Hamas has no friends in the Arab world other than Qatar,” referring to the nation where the organization’s leadership is purportedly based.
Israel’s victory would be a win for those seeking peace in the region, Regev added.
Even as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intensify their operations in Gaza after 46 days of the war, the Israeli government has not stated clearly its plan for the enclave once the fighting stops.
While the IDF pursues its goal of destroying Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, as it describes the military operations, Israel is engaged in negotiations to free some 238 hostages, including children and the elderly, from Hamas captivity.
And, if the backroom talks, which also involve Qatar and the United States, lead to an agreement on the release of hostages, then Israel would likely agree to a short pause.
“We will agree to a temporary ceasefire if our hostages are released,” Regev said.
He said international humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross were not allowed by Hamas to visit the hostages to assess their wellbeing.
When asked if Israel has proof of life of the hostages, Regev said that “no information on their condition” is available but that Israel has gathered its own intelligence.
The hostages should be released unconditionally, he said.
So far, there is no indication that Israel would consider any deal whereby the hostages are swapped for Palestinian prisoners.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported earlier that the families of some of the hostages have urged Netanyahu to agree to such an exchange.