Israel continues today to bombard the Gaza Strip, whose future “after” the war is also the subject of a plan which was presented for the first time in rough lines last night and predicts how Hamas will not rule either, nor Israeli political authority the coastal Palestinian enclave where the damages are enormous after almost three months of unceasing blows.

As US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected in the regionwhich seeks to prevent the spread of the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East, after a week of high tension, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallad yesterday presented his initial plan for the Gaza Strip after the war ends.

According to this plan, which is subject to the approval of his government Benjamin Netanyahuwhich is divided over the thorny issue, military operations in the Gaza Strip “will continue” until the “return of hostages”, the “destruction of Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities” and the “elimination of military threats”.

Then a new phase will begin, the “next day” of the war, during which “Hamas will not control Gaza,” states the plan, which still does not have a stamp of government approval.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir proposed on Monday for Jewish settlers to return to the Gaza Strip after the war and to “encourage” the Palestinian population to “immigrate”, following a similar proposal by the other far-right minister of the Netanyahu government, Bezalel Smotrich (Finance). The statements of the two ministers caused intense reactions internationally.

But “there will be no Israeli political presence in the Gaza Strip after the war’s objectives have been achieved”, Mr Gallant said yesterday, adding that the Israeli army would in any case maintain “freedom of action” in the enclave to deal with any “threat”. ».

“The people of Gaza are Palestinians. Consequently, Palestinian entities will take over, provided there is no hostile action or threat against the state of Israel,” the Israeli defense minister said, without clarifying exactly who among the Palestinians he expects to take over. enclave of 2.4 million inhabitants.

Aerial bombing

During the night of Thursday into Friday, Israeli forces once again launched airstrikes in the southern and central parts of the Gaza Strip, where eyewitnesses also reported heavy fighting.

Airstrikes and artillery fire yesterday hit Khan Younis, a major city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip that has become the focus of recent hostilities, an AFP journalist found.

At the Nasser Mortuary, Baha Abu Khattab, tears streaming down his face, stood in shock before his dead nieces. “They had found shelter in a field, where they set up a tent to protect themselves from the cold, but Israeli airstrikes killed them as they slept. Why; Because they were children? Were they threatening Israel and the USA?’ she said between sobs.

Since the outbreak of the war, at least 22,438 people, the vast majority of them women and children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to the latest tally by Hamas’ health ministry. In other words, almost 1% of the population of the Palestinian enclave.

Israel’s civilian-military leadership has vowed to “eliminate” Hamas after its unprecedented attack on southern sectors of Israeli territory on October 7 killed some 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official statements. of the authorities. It was the deadliest attack by the Jewish state in 1948.

Fighters from Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups also took about 250 people hostage that day, more than 100 of whom were released in late November as part of a week-long truce in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians. The Israeli army announced yesterday that three Israelis, missing since October 7, are being held hostage in the Gaza Strip, which it says means that 132 hostages remain in the hands of Hamas, a movement that Israel labels a “terrorist” organization, the EU and USA.

Blinken again

Fears that the war will ignite across the Middle East were further heightened after the death of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Aruri in Beirut on Tuesday in an airstrike attributed to Israel.

“The enemy thinks that by killing Saleh al-Arouri he can defeat the resistance and impose his terms (…) but he has failed, he will never be able to force Hamas to give up its claims, its vision and its its strategy”, the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, emphasized in his speech.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, a Shiite group close to Iran and a Hamas ally, warned Israel against any further escalation following the death of Saleh al-Arouri.

In Israel, the chief of the general staff Herchi Halevi assured that his forces are vigilant on the border with Lebanon, theater since the day after the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip practically daily exchanges of fire.

And as many governments worry about the risk of an escalation and generalization of the war, in Iran, an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group killed 84 people near the grave of General Qassem Soleimani, the architect of Iranian military operations. abroad and of the “axis of resistance” in the Middle East.

In the Red Sea, Houthi rebels, believed to be backed by Iran, have increased their attacks on merchant ships they say are linked to Israel to “support” the Gaza Strip, while in Syria and Iraq US military bases have became the target of more than a hundred attacks.

Mr Blinken was expected to leave Washington last night for his fourth tour of the region since the start of the Israel/Hamas war, during which he is expected to call for increased aid to the Gaza Strip and seek ways to avoid the ignition in the area.

After Turkey it will go to Israel, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Before he left, a spokesman for his services at the State Department emphasized that “we do not expect the talks on this trip to be easy.”