Israel widens offensive in central Gaza as Netanyahu refuses to discuss postwar plan

Israel widens offensive in central Gaza as Netanyahu refuses to discuss postwar plan

The Guardian reports:

The Israeli military expanded its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to the densely populated urban refugee camps in the central part of the territory as the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was reported to have refused requests from security officials to make plans for control of Gaza after the war with Hamas ends.

Over the last few days, three requests to the prime minister’s office were conveyed on behalf of the directors of the Mossad, the Shin Bet, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff and the defence ministry to arrange a meeting on decisions relating to “the day after” Israel declares it has achieved its goals against the Palestinian militant group in control of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Tuesday night.

All those requests were refused, the network said. “Time is running out and decisions need to be made already about how to act with regard to all the relevant actors inside and outside the Gaza Strip. The Americans want explanations,” it quoted an unnamed security official as saying.

Tuesday’s report comes amid allegations in the Israeli media that Netanyahu and his defence minister, Yoav Gallant, have also refused to discuss the long-expected transition from the current “high intensity” stage of fighting to a new phrase focused on the more precise targeting of Hamas’s leaders, as well as a report that Netanyahu did not allow Gallant to hold detailed discussions with the Mossad about a possible hostage release deal.

Netanyahu may wish to postpone such discussions to protect his position as prime minister: his wartime unity government will disband after the conflict ends, and any solution for Gaza that involves Palestinian actors, such as the return of the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority, threatens the stability of his far-right coalition government. [Continue reading…]

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