Israel’s defense minister laid out his vision for the next phase of the war against Hamas on Thursday and described how Israeli forced would shift to a scaled-down and new approach.
Yoav Gallant said Israel would continue to fight Hamas “for as long as necessary” and detailed how Gaza would be run once Hamas is defeated.
Gallant issued a document titled “vision for Phase 3,” which his office said has not yet begun. The ideas were Gallant’s and not official policy, his office said, which means he may be attempting to put forth his ideas ahead of hard-right members of the government who likely want to continue a tougher approach to the war, the Associated Press reported.
Under his vision, the war would go on until Hamas’ military and government is eliminated and the hostages taken in its initial attack are returned. The statement said Israeli forces would shift to a new approach in the north. In the south, fighting would continue for “as long as is deemed necessary,” Gallant said of his plan, per the AP.
Gallant’s comments come as Secretary of State Antony Blinken departed for the Middle East for a high-stakes meeting. Worries have grown stronger in recent days of a wider war amid conflicts involving Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Yemen, and the assassination of a Hamas leader in Lebanon.
Blinken’s itinerary suggests the U.S. is trying to exert influence over the region to help lower the temperature, The Hill previously reported. Blinken is set to discuss the ongoing military campaign against Hamas with Israeli official and the “steps to the next phase of operations,” including allowing Palestinians in Gaza to return to their homes.
The U.S. has called for an independent Palestinian government and for Israel to scale back its attacks to a more refined approach to avoid civilian casualties.
More than 22,000 Palestinians have died in the war, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and nearly all of the territory’s 2.3 million population has been displaced and needs aid, the United Nations said.
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