news

Gantz’s plan for Gaza: After creating deterrence, a regional push to rehabilitate the Strip

Once Israeli deterrence is restored, said Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz, the second objective should be to “initiate a diplomatic-political process that will harness external powers to this place, and create a situation in which the gaps between the rounds of fighting increase.”

Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz meeting with southern council representatives on Sunday. Credit: Blue and White.
Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz meeting with southern council representatives on Sunday. Credit: Blue and White.

Blue and White Party leader and former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz laid out his own alternative plan for dealing with the Gazan threat during a visit to Israel’s rocket-stricken south on Sunday.

Speaking before a ceasefire went into effect early on Monday, Gantz praised local communities for their ability to continue to function under heavy rocket fire. Addressing a meeting of local council representatives, he stated, “What the State of Israel needs to do is very simple. It needs to increase attacks, to act with great power against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in a manner that will bring back deterrence to the right and correct place.”

Once Israeli deterrence is restored, he said, the second objective should be to “initiate a diplomatic-political process that will harness external powers to this place, and create a situation in which the gaps between the rounds of fighting increase.”

The way to do that, he explained during a subsequent interview with the Ynet news site, is to bring in regional states and the international community to develop Gaza’s collapsing infrastructure, rather than give in to Hamas’s “extortion methods” and allow Qatari cash to reach it directly.

“I believe that if we do this, we can increase the time between [military] campaigns. And we can do this without taking on ourselves this ‘fine’ called Gaza. The prime minister must choose who he talks to. If he wishes to talk to Hamas, he can, but that’s not right. Hamas does not recognize the State of Israel, and until that changes, it is a mistake to negotiate with it. The other alternatives are the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, who can cooperate.”

‘Is the government doing anything to change the situation?’

Such a plan can see Gaza receive badly needed civilian infrastructure and enable Israel to disconnect itself from the Strip, argued Gantz.

“We must return the initiative to our hands. At the moment, the initiative is in the hands of Hamas and the terror organizations. They are the ones who dictate the agenda for the State of Israel. It’s logical for the State of Israel to be dictating the agenda. If they turn to us with force, they will encounter a lot more force—and we have force,” he said.

Israel must also have a top-priority policy of strengthening and investing in the border communities near Gaza, said Gantz.

Gantz criticized the Netanyahu government for failing to take these steps in the three-and-half years of calm that followed the 2014 “Operation Protective Edge,” adding, “I hope they do it now.”

“I don’t think we need to ask what we should do when there are escalations. We should be asking this mainly when there is no fighting. Is the government doing anything to change this situation?” he asked.

“What will the cabinet discuss in its meeting? What targets were attacked? Or a diplomatic solution? They should be talking about the latter,” said Gantz.

The former chief of staff, who commanded the IDF during its seven-week conflict with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza in 2014, called on the government to “tell the public the truth. The truth, in my eyes, is that we must launch a diplomatic process, and prioritize the Palestinian Authority and regional states. To say ‘we are not doing anything’ is not an option.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates