Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed that the Gaza Strip will have to be demilitarized after the current war with Hamas, emphasizing that only the Israeli army can be entrusted with that operation and not any international force or body.
Netanyahu said: “Past experience showed that international forces have been ineffective in demilitarizing areas with forces hostile to Israel” and that he would not accept such an arrangement in Gaza, according to the Times of Israel.
“Gaza must be demilitarized. And in order for Gaza to be demilitarized, there is only one force that can ensure this demilitarization – and this force is the Israel Defense Forces,” said Netanyahu.
“No international force can be responsible for this,” he said, referring to international discussions on forming a force to take control of Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war is over.
He added: “We have seen what has happened in other places where international forces were brought in for demilitarization purposes.”
In a statement released by the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said last month: “After the war – and this is my opinion – I believe it to be important to have a strengthened Palestinian Authority to assume responsibilities in Gaza.”
The UN Secretary-General further said: “I do not think that a UN protectorate in Gaza is a solution. I think we need a multi-stakeholder approach in which different countries and entities will cooperate. For Israel, of course, the US is the main guarantor of its security. For Palestinians, the neighboring and Arab countries of the region are essential.”
“So, everybody needs to come together to make the conditions for a transition, allowing for a strengthened Palestinian Authority, to assume responsibility in Gaza and then, based on that, to finally move ... in a determined and irreversible way to a two-State solution based on the principles that have been largely established by the international community,” Guterres outlined.
As for the progress of the Israeli offensive in Gaza, Netanyahu said the Israeli army had the upper hand in the battle and was advancing well in destroying Hamas, adding that the Israeli army had managed to kill approximately half of the militia’s battalion commanders.
The war between Hamas and Israel erupted on October 7 when the militant group launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas fighters breached security barriers and entered southern Israel. Their incursion was accompanied by a barrage of rockets.
Israel had said the Hamas attacks on October 7 killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and the militia originally took more than 240 hostages in one of the deadliest attacks in Israel’s history. Immediately afterward, Israel commenced air strikes on Gaza and launched the recent ground offensive, which has resulted in the deaths of nearly 16,000 Palestinians, with a majority of them being women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.