Israel aims to end its responsibility for Gaza Strip: Defense minister

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One Israeli objective of its military campaign in the Gaza Strip is to end Israel’s responsibility over the Palestinian coastal enclave, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Friday.

Gaza has no access to the outside world except through Israel, which controls 90 percent of its land and sea boundaries, and Egypt, which has a narrow land border to the south.

Israel has enforced a rigid blockade on the enclave since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007, imposing comprehensive curbs on exports and imports, and severely restricting who could enter or leave.

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Egypt has largely supported the blockade, viewing Hamas as a threat to its own stability.

The Israeli defense minister, briefing parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said the Gaza campaign that was launched after a deadly Hamas rampage on Israeli towns on October 7, would have three phases.

The first stage was the current military operation meant to destroy Hamas’s infrastructure, Gallant said, adding that the intermediate phase would include “operations at lower intensity” eliminating “pockets of resistance.”

“The third phase will require the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip, and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel,” the minister said, according to a statement from his office.

Israel has traditionally supplied Gaza with most of its energy needs, but it turned off the taps after October 7, and also refused to let water or medicines enter the territory.

Israel has previously looked to oversee imports into Gaza to prevent military materials from reaching Hamas.

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