Israel to Palestinians: ‘No Intention’ to Occupy Gaza, but ‘You Cannot Take Control if You are Corrupt’

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JERUSALEM, Israel – While Israel’s war with Hamas continues in the Gaza Strip, the debate over what happens to Gaza the day after the war is intensifying. Many parties are vying to stake their claim to rule over the territory.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Wednesday on his view of Gaza after the war.

“I want to make a few points absolutely clear. Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population. Israel is fighting Hamas terrorists, not the Palestinian population,” he stated. “Our goal is to rid Gaza of Hamas terrorists and free our hostages. Once this is achieved, Gaza can be demilitarized and deradicalized, thereby creating a possibility for a better future for Israel and Palestinians alike.”

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At the Knesset Wednesday, parliament member Danny Danon hosted dozens of ambassadors to discuss the fate of Gaza.

“First thing we will discuss before we speak about the day after, we have to make sure that all the hostages are back in Israel and Hamas is eradicated, then we can discuss the future of Gaza,” Danon said. We are open minded about it. We don’t want to stay in Gaza but at the same time, we will not allow Hamas to rebuild its force in Gaza.”  

The U.S. is proposing that the Palestinian Authority should have a major role in governing the Gaza Strip. Knesset Member and Former Deputy Director of the Mossad Ram Ben-Barak told CBN News the P.A. would have to reform for that to happen. 

“The Palestinian Authority must be changed,” he insisted. “You cannot take control on Gaza if the kids educate to hate and to kill Jewish. You cannot control Gaza and cannot control, by the way, the West Bank, if you pay money to people who are involved in terror activity. And you cannot take control if you are corrupt.”

In the meantime, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, while addressing Israeli miilitary commanders, said the war in Gaza has taught the troops how to fight Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“After what you did, there is not a village in Lebanon that you cannot enter and dismantle,” he said. “We will put you wherever you’re needed, and you will do whatever is needed.”

With nearly 100,000 residents of northern Israel evacuated from their homes, Israeli leaders are warning that if the war between Israel and Hezbollah cannot be resolved through diplomacy, they’re prepared to use force.

War cabinet member Benny Gantz cautioned, “If Lebanon continues to serve as an active Iranian terrorist outpost, we will act in southern Lebanon as we act in northern Gaza. This is not a threat to Lebanon; it is a promise to our residents of the north.”

On the international legal front, South Africa began to present its argument Thursday that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. One commentator noted the trial is like accusing a Holocaust survivor of starting World War II. 

Given the crisis facing Israel on multiple fronts, tens of thousands of Israelis gathered at the Western Wall Wednesday to pray for the release of the hostages held by Hamas and for God’s hand of mercy to be on Israel.

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