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Gaza Strip, because Blinken rejected Israel’s post-war plan

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Gaza Strip, because Blinken rejected Israel’s post-war plan

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The complete demilitarization of the Strip, a “government” of local officials with no links to terrorism, the closure of UNRWA. In the fifth month of conflict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented for the first time to the security cabinet the plan which for Israel will serve as the basis for future discussions on the management of Gaza in the post-war period. A project that Abu Mazen’s Palestinian National Authority immediately rejected and branded as “doomed to failure”. “It will never succeed,” echoed Hamas. While the United States has shown itself to be more than sceptical. The plan includes immediate and medium-term objectives. Among the first are the continuation of the war until the military and government structures of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are destroyed; the return of the over 130 hostages still in the hands of the Islamic faction and the removal of any security threat to Israel deriving from the Strip.

In the medium term, Netanyahu’s project indicates the birth of a civic government for current affairs and public order governed “by local officials with managerial experience and not identified with states or organizations that support terrorism and do not receive salaries from them ”. In formulating this point, the plan makes no mention of any role for the PA, which the US and the international community instead want to involve. And again: the Israeli army will retain the freedom to operate against terrorist activities throughout Gaza. Also foreseen – another point of contrast with the USA – is the creation of a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of the Strip with the clarification that it will remain in force for the time “required by security needs”.

Israel also wants to impose a “closure” on the southern border of the Strip with Egypt, including the Rafah crossing, to prevent arms smuggling activities and therefore terrorism. Finally, it aims to create “responsible international humanitarian organizations” in place of UNRWA. Gaza, the PA replied harshly from Ramallah, “will only be part of the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and any plan other than that is doomed to failure.” “Israel – added the Palestinian Authority – will not succeed in its attempts to change the reality and demographics of Gaza”.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also seemed very critical: “I have read some reports but I have not seen the Israeli plan. In any case – he underlined – there are some basic principles that we want to enforce and among these that there must be no Israeli reoccupation in Gaza”. Meanwhile, a new round of hostage negotiations is underway in Paris with CIA director William Burns, Egypt, Qatar and an Israeli delegation led by Mossad chief David Barnea. Talks which, albeit with due caution, seem well directed in the wake of the “progress” recorded in Cairo between the mediators and the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The progress is linked to the lower number of Palestinian prisoners requested by the Islamic faction compared to a few days ago in exchange for the release of the Israeli abductees. Even if now we are talking about 3,000 prisoners for approximately 130 hostages: a ratio of over 23 prisoners for each hostage compared to the 3 to 1 of the previous agreement in November.

However, Palestinian sources familiar with the negotiations – cited by Ynet – said that Hamas is still calling for the total withdrawal of the IDF from Gaza and a permanent ceasefire. Complicating the situation is Israel’s decision to launch plans for the construction of 3,344 new homes in the West Bank, in response to Thursday’s Palestinian attack: 2,350 in Maale Adumim (near Jerusalem), 694 in Efrat and 300 in Keidar ( Bethlehem). A decision that has raised a wave of criticism, starting from the USA: “The new settlements are counterproductive to achieving lasting peace and not in line with international law.”

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