update deskIsrael at War

Right-wing voters: Fire Gallant over call for Palestinians to rule Gaza

Among the Israeli public as a whole, 41% think the defense minister should be fired, while 54% believe he should remain in his position.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant at a joint press conference with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in Jerusalem, on Dec. 26, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant at a joint press conference with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in Jerusalem, on Dec. 26, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

A majority of Israeli right-wing voters believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over his demand that the government hand over Gaza to a Palestinian “alternative to Hamas,” according to a survey Channel 14 published over the weekend.

Seventy-three percent of the coalition’s supporters agree that Gallant should be removed from his position over his “call to allow the Palestinian Authority to control Gaza,” while 22% oppose his firing, according to the survey by Direct Polls, which correctly predicted the results of Israel’s most recent election.

Among the wider Israeli public, 41% think Gallant should be fired, while 54% believe the defense minister should remain in position.

Gallant has urged Netanyahu to “make a decision and declare that Israel will not establish civilian control over the Gaza Strip, that Israel will not establish military governance in the Gaza Strip, and that a governing alternative to Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be promoted immediately.

“Since October, I have been raising this issue consistently in the Cabinet and have received no response. The end of the military campaign must come together with political action. The ‘day after Hamas’ will only be achieved with Palestinian entities taking control of Gaza, accompanied by international actors,” Gallant said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Senior coalition officials have called on Netanyahu to fire the defense minister over his public opposition to the government’s stated policy.

According to the Channel 14 poll, 84% of right-wing voters support Netanyahu’s proposal that the IDF rule over the Gaza Strip. Only 11% back Gallant’s proposal, which the right-wing broadcaster said boils down to “transferring control to the Palestinian Authority.”

Netanyahu has repeatedly stressed that he seeks to maintain security control over Gaza after the war with Hamas “for as long as necessary,” and will not cede security control “under any circumstance.”

“I am not willing to exchange Hamastan for Fatahstan,” the premier reiterated on Wednesday in response to Gallant’s demand, with the latter term referring to P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah Party.

The premier noted that the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority “supports terrorism, teaches terrorism and funds terrorism.”

The Israeli government is set to discuss a proposal under which the IDF would administer Gaza for six months to a year after it defeats the terrorist group, the Kan News broadcaster reported last week.

The plan under consideration calls for civilian rule through the IDF Civil Administration and the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, with local Arab companies providing services.

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