Israelis envision indefinite confinement for Palestinians who denounce Hamas

Israelis envision indefinite confinement for Palestinians who denounce Hamas

The Wall Street Journal reports:

A plan that is gaining currency in the government and military envisions creating geographical “islands” or “bubbles” where Palestinians who are unconnected to Hamas can live in temporary shelter while the Israeli military mops up remaining insurgents.

Other members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party are backing another, security-focused plan that seeks to slice up Gaza with two corridors running across its width and a fortified perimeter that would allow Israel’s military to mount raids when it deems them necessary.

The ideas come from informal groups of retired army and intelligence officers, think tanks, academics and politicians, as well as internal discussions inside the military. While Israel’s political leadership has said almost nothing about how the Gaza Strip will look and be governed after the heaviest fighting ends, these groups have been working on detailed plans that offer a glimpse of how Israel is thinking about what it calls the Day After.

The plans—whether or not they get adopted in full—reveal hard realities about the aftermath that rarely get voiced. Among them, that Palestinian civilians could be confined indefinitely to smaller areas of the Gaza Strip while fighting continues outside, and that Israel’s army could be forced to remain deeply involved in the enclave for years until Hamas is marginalized.

“Decisions have to be taken today,” said Israel Ziv, a former Israeli general who helped provide ideas for a plan for Hamas-free humanitarian bubbles in Gaza.

According to people familiar with the effort, it aims to work with local Palestinians who are unaffiliated with Hamas to set up isolated zones in northern Gaza. Palestinians in areas where Israel believes Hamas no longer holds sway would distribute aid and take on civic duties. Eventually, a coalition of U.S. and Arab states would manage the process, these people said.

The Israeli military would continue to battle Hamas outside the bubbles and set up more over time as areas of Gaza are cleared.

Ziv, who oversaw Israel’s exit from Gaza in 2005, proposes that Palestinians who are ready to denounce Hamas could register to live in fenced-off geographic islands located next to their neighborhoods and guarded by the Israeli military. This would entitle them to reconstruction of their homes. [Continue reading…]

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