Israel Palestine Conflict

Israel’s Gantz says years needed to rehabilitate south after Hamas surprise attack

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Israeli efforts to rehabilitate southern communities ravaged by the October 7 Hamas onslaught will take years and go beyond a planned ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet said on Thursday.

Benny Gantz, an ex-general who joined Netanyahu from the opposition in an emergency government, signaled to enemies of Israel other than Hamas that they too risked being destroyed.

“The battle against Gazan terror will continue within the strip’s territory - going deep, anywhere and at any time required to ensure security for the communities that will be restored and will rebuild the region,” he said in a speech.

“The (ground) maneuver will be but one stage of a long process that will include defensive, diplomatic and social aspects that will take years.”

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A long-time political rival of Netanyahu, Gantz said the two-week-old war cabinet was functioning well and making decisions based on calculations relevant to the national crisis.

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, which is sworn to its destruction and has the support of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“The danger of destruction will not be our destiny, but rather, the fate of those who would do evil to us,” Gantz said.

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