Israel’s next headache: who will run post-war Gaza?

Israel’s next headache: who will run post-war Gaza?

Reuters reports:

The plan for post-war Gaza that Israel pitched to U.S. allies is to run the strip in cooperation with powerful local families. But there’s a problem: in a place where Hamas still wields ruthless influence, none want to be seen talking to the enemy.

Israel is under pressure from Washington to end the loss of human life and wind down its military offensive after nearly nine months, but does not want Hamas in charge after the war.

Israeli officials have therefore been trying to plot a path ahead for the day after the fighting stops.

A major pillar of the plan, according to public statements from leading Israeli officials, was to shape an alternative civil administration involving local Palestinian actors not part of the existing structures of power and willing to work alongside Israel.

However, the only plausible candidates in Gaza for this role – the heads of powerful local families – are unwilling to get involved, according to Reuters’ conversations with five members of major families in Gaza, including the head of one grouping.

Israel has been “actively looking for local tribes and families on the ground to work with them,” said Tahani Mustafa, Senior Palestine Analyst at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank. “They refused.”

They don’t want to get involved, in part because they fear retribution from Hamas, said Mustafa, who is in touch with some of the families and other local stakeholders in Gaza.

That threat is real because – despite Israel’s explicit war objective of destroying Hamas – the Palestinian group still has operatives enforcing its will on the streets of Gaza, according to six residents who spoke to Reuters. [Continue reading…]

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