‘We will not replace one group of terrorists with another’

Israeli foreign minister reiterates that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority will have a role in Gaza; Muslim states disagree.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas, palestinians
Foreign Minister Israel Katz insists Jerusalem will not allow foreign pressure to undermine the objectives of the Gaza war. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Foreign Minister Israel Katz insists Jerusalem will not allow foreign pressure to undermine the objectives of the Gaza war. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90

Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Channel 14 News on Saturday night that Jerusalem will not allow foreign pressure, even from the United States, to undermine the objectives of the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

 

Rafah operation

Katz stressed that the IDF will operate in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah, the last remaining Hamas stronghold in the coastal enclaves. Western nations, and in particular the Biden administration in Washington, have pressed Israel to forego a full-scale ground operation in Rafah given the large number of Gazans who have taken refuge there.

Israeli leaders across the political spectrum, and well as army and other security chiefs, say it is absolutely necessary to operate in Rafah, where the Hamas leadership is believed to be sheltering, and where the remaining Israeli hostages are likely being held.

 

No more Hamas

Katz also rejected any possibility of the war ending before Hamas is defeated and destroyed as a military threat, if not entirely as a movement.

Pressure is growing on Israel to accept a long-term ceasefire that most believe would become a permanent truce allowing Hamas to survive and fight again another day. But it is inconceivable to the vast majority of Israelis that Hamas be allowed to remain armed and in control of Gaza following the events of October 7, 2023.

 

Won’t swap one terror group for another

Further putting himself at odds with the Americans, Katz went on to insist that the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas will play no role in the governance of the Gaza Strip. “We won’t trade one terror group for another,” said the foreign minister.

Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has not only engaged in decades of incitement against Israeli Jews, it openly justified the savage Hamas invasion of Oct. 7.

Top PA officials have said they intend to forge a unity government with Hamas, which continues to enjoy high popularity, and will even hand over the reins of government in all the Palestinian-ruled territories if Hamas wins the next election.

Given this, Israel no longer views the Palestinian Authority as a viable peace partner.

 

Security control in Gaza

Anyone who thinks that after the current war the situation will return to how it was before, with a clearly-defined border between Israel and Gaza, has another thing coming.

The IDF will not be leaving Gaza. Katz said the Israeli military will continue to operate there in an open and routine manner, similar to how it does in Judea and Samaria, the so-called “West Bank.”

This is to prevent the coastal enclave from ever again becoming a terrorist haven where Hamas or any other group can build up a thousands-strong military force without interference.

 

Muslim opposition

Shortly after Katz’s interview, Channel 14 cited Arab sources as saying that Egypt, Qatar and Turkey are preparing their own plan for the ‘day after’ the Gaza war.

Their plan sees Gaza ruled by a unity government including both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

They aim to transform Hamas into a socio-political movement with no military arm, something akin to the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Hamas was born, and to thus “legitimize” it as a part of the overall Palestinian political structure.

Hamas is now reportedly willing to consider this option, given is present circumstances.