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Israel’s defence minister hits out at Netanyahu over post-war Gaza plan

Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant has publicly hit out at prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans for a post-war Gaza – vowing to oppose any long-term military rule by Israel.

Pressure has been growing on Mr Netanyahu for weeks over Israel’s conduct in Gaza, with the international community calling for a ceasefire and even staunch ally the US baulking at a full-scale assault on the border city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering. The Israeli prime minister claims the offensive is crucial to eliminating Hamas. Mr Netanyahu’s attempts to keep his hardline government coalition partners onside in promising an attack on Rafah is said to have caused splits in the country’s war cabinet, with these bursting into the open with Mr Gallant’s remarks.

Israel launched its heaviest-ever bombardment of Gaza, plus a ground assault and a blockade, in retaliation for a bloody attack by Hamas on 7 October during which around 1,200 people were killed and another 250 were taken hostage, including toddlers. Since then, Palestinian health workers in the Hamas-run territory say Israel’s bombardment has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom were women and children.

In a televised news conference, Mr Gallant said that, since soon after the conflict erupted with a shock Hamas attack on 7 October, he had tried to promote a blueprint for an alternative Gaza administration made up of Palestinians. Those efforts “got no response” from various decision-making cabinet forums under Mr Netanyahu, said Mr Gallant, who comes from the prime minister’s Likud Party.

“I call on the prime minister to announce that Israel will not rule over Gaza militarily,” Mr Gallant said. “An alternative to Hamas

Read more on independent.co.uk