Israel Will Not Resettle Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his “day after” plan following the conclusion of the Israel-Hamas war does not involve resettlement in the Gaza Strip. Instead, Israel will maintain security in Gaza until all known terror threats are eliminated, after which Gazans can assume responsibility of the Strip.

“If you mean resettling Gaza … it was never in the cards, and I said so openly. And some of my constituents are not happy about it, but that’s my position,” Netanyahu said. “I think the only force that can prevent the resurgence of terrorism for the foreseeable future is Israel. At the same time, we want—I want—a civilian administration that is run by Gazans who are neither Hamas nor committed to our destruction.”

Netanyahu’s goal of living peacefully alongside a docile Gaza is theoretically admirable. He hopes to extend a major olive branch to Gazans in an effort to appeal to the Palestinians and the majority of the world that prefers to see them, rather than Israelis, in power in the Holy Land.

But Netanyahu’s plan will not be popular among his coalition. The conclusion of the war—which Israel is poised to win—seems an odd time for an appeasement policy. In light of the October 7, 2023, attack that killed 1,200 in Israel and sparked the war, many believe Israel’s wisest policy is to maintain control of Gaza to ensure nothing similar ever happens again. After all, the attack was successful because Gazans took advantage of Israel’s good will toward them. They used the opportunities for work that Israel generously gave them to gain Israelis’ trust and access into the nation, all while mapping out the weak points in southern Israel and plotting the massacre.

But perhaps Netanyahu can satisfy both sides by allowing the Gazans long-term authority in Gaza after retaining Israeli control of security in the Strip until the nation is assured that terrorism no longer poses an active threat (though it’s hard to ever see that truly coming to pass). Regardless, the details of Netanyahu’s post-war plans signal hope that the war is nearing an end in Israel’s favor.