Netanyahu's post-war plan for Gaza is dismissed as 'genocide': Israel calls for Hamas to be removed, complete demilitarization, no 'unilateral recognition' of a Palestinian state and UNRWA axed

Israel has outlined its first official ‘day after’ plan for the Gaza Strip, calling for Hamas to be removed, no ‘unilateral recognition’ of a Palestinian state and shutting down the UN Palestinian refugees agency UNRWA.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will keep security control over all Palestinian areas and make reconstruction of Gaza dependent on its demilitarization.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry issued a blistering condemnation, calling it ‘a plan to prolong the genocide against our people’ and show that Israel is trying to buy more time to put through displacement plans.

The document proposes Israel would maintain security control over all land west of Jordan, including the occupied West Bank and Gaza – territories where the Palestinians hope to establish an independent state.

Netanyahu presented the plan yesterday to the security cabinet, which could still demand amendments. 

In the long-term goals listed, Netanayhu rejects the ‘unilateral recognition’ of a Palestinian state. He says a settlement with the Palestinians will only be achieved through direct negotiations between the two sides – without naming who the Palestinian party would be.

Under the plan, Israel would maintain security control over all land west of Jordan, including the occupied West Bank and Gaza – territories where the Palestinians hope to establish an independent state

Two men embrace amid the destruction caused by overnight Israeli bombardment in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip on Friday

Search and rescue efforts continue to reach injured and killed Palestinians at the scene after Israeli forces hit and destroyed a building belonging to a Palestinian family in Az-Zawayda, Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on Friday

In Gaza, Netanyahu outlines demilitarization and deradicalization as goals to be achieved in the medium term. He does not elaborate on when that intermediary stage would begin or how long it would last. 

But he conditions the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, much of which has been laid to waste by Israel’s offensive, on its complete demilitarization.

Netanyahu proposes that Israel should have a presence on the Gaza-Egypt border in the south of the enclave and cooperates with Egypt and the United States in that area to prevent smuggling attempts, including at the Rafah crossing.

To replace Hamas rule in Gaza while maintaining public order, Netanyahu suggests working with local representatives ‘who are not affiliated with terrorist countries or groups and are not financially supported by them’.

He calls for the UNRWA to be axed and replaced with other international aid groups.

‘The prime minister’s document of principles reflects broad public consensus over the goals of the war and for replacing Hamas rule in Gaza with a civilian alternative,’ a statement by the Prime Minister’s office said.

The document was distributed to security cabinet members to start a discussion on the issue.

This picture taken from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment on Khan Yunis on Thursday

A Palestinian woman injured in an Israeli strike mourns the death of her sibling in the strike at Abu Yousef Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Thursday

Palestinians walk past destroyed houses in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday 

Destruction of Al-Farouq Mosque and surrounding buildings due to Israeli raids in Rafah, Gaza, on Thursday

The statement from the Palestinian Authority in response to the plan argues that Israel is using a blatant manoeuvre to threaten American and international attempts linking the end of the war and the release of hostages and prisoners to the resolution of the wider Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Additionally, the PA called on the US and other Western countries to take decisive action, including recognising Palestine as an independent state, helping with its membership in the UN, and setting up an international peace conference.

It says these points are vital for bringing an end to the occupation and allowing the Palestinian people to make use of their right to self-determination freely and in a dignified manner.

The war was triggered by a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on October 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and 253 taken hostage, according to Israeli counts.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has responded with an air and ground assault on blockaded Gaza that has killed more than 29,400 people, according to Palestinian health authorities. 

The offensive has displaced most of the territory’s population and caused widespread hunger and disease.

A father carries the body of his son following an Israeli air strike on Deir Al Balah, southern Gaza Strip, on Friday

Israel tanks roll along the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday

Smoke rises during an Israeli ground operation in Khan Younis, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from a tent camp sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Thursday

The spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that Netanyahu’s proposal was doomed to fail, as were any Israeli plans to change the geographic and demographic realities in Gaza.

‘If the world is genuinely interested in having security and stability in the region, it must end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and recognise an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,’ he said.

The war in Gaza has revived international calls – including from Israel’s main backer the United States – for the so-called two-state solution as the ultimate goal for resolving the decades long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Little progress has been made on achieving Palestinian statehood since the signing of the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s. Among the obstacles impeding it are expanding Israeli settlements in territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Most countries regard the settlements, which in many areas cut Palestinian communities off from each other, as a violation of international law. 

Israel claims a biblical birthright to the land and said yesterday that it would approve more than 3,000 new housing units in settlements.