Israeli army via Agence France-Presse Israeli soldiers evacuate one of their own who was injured Thursday in the Gaza Strip.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Ilan Ben Zion – Associated Press respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem
- Middle East
Israeli's defense minister presented for the first time a plan for the post-war in Gaza, where Israel continued its bombings and ground operations on Friday, almost three months after the start of the conflict opposing it to Palestinian Hamas.
The Israeli army announced the “elimination of a terrorist cell” in Bureij in the central Gaza Strip, and the destruction of rocket launch sites towards Israel in Khan Younes, the large southern city, epicenter of fighting.
On the eve of a new regional tour by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant unveiled a post-war plan on Thursday, two days after the elimination in Lebanon of Hamas number two, Saleh al-Arouri.
Israel vowed to “destroy” the Islamist movement — classified as terrorist by Israel, the United States and the European Union — after its unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7, which left around 1,140 dead, mainly civilians. according to an AFP count based on the Israeli toll. Around 250 people were taken hostage, including around a hundred released during a truce at the end of November.
Since then, Israeli military operations have left 22,600 dead in Gaza, mostly women and minors, according to figures on Friday from the Hamas Ministry of Health, in power in Gaza since 2007.
- Strike in Beirut revives fear of conflagration in Lebanon
- Israeli bombs continue to rain on Gaza
The plan presented by Yoav Gallant, which has yet to receive the approval of a divided government, provides for the continuation of operations in Gaza until the “return of the hostages”, the “dismantling of Hamas' military and governance capabilities” and “elimination of military threats.”
For the post-war period, Mr. Gallant advocates a solution without Hamas, but without an Israeli civilian presence, in fact rejecting calls from two far-right ministers for the return of Jewish settlers to Gaza and to the “emigration” of Palestinians. These comments sparked an international outcry, denounced in particular by the American ally and the European Union.
“There will be no Israeli civilian presence in the Gaza Strip after the objectives of the war have been achieved,” Mr. Gallant declared, specifying however that the army would retain “its freedom of action” in this territory to curb any possible “threat”.
“The people of Gaza are Palestinian. Therefore Palestinian entities will be in charge (of management) on the condition that there is no hostile action or threat against the State of Israel,” he stressed, without further details.
On the ground, the ordeal continues for some 2.4 million Gazans, including around 1.9 million displaced by the conflict: they lack water, food, medicine and care , hospitals no longer operate or operate with great difficulty.
In Rafah, the last town in the south of the small besieged territory, “around 500,000 displaced people live around shelters, in the streets or on the roads”, describes Adnan Abu Hasna for AFP, a spokesperson in Gaza for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
“There is nothing left”
In the hope of finding refuge there, families are flocking there, their belongings piled up on the beds of vans, the roofs of overloaded cars, or on carts pulled by donkeys or attached to tractors, AFPTV noted on Friday .
“We fled from the Jabaliya camp in the north to Ma’an (a district of Khan Yunis) and now we are fleeing from Ma’an to Rafah, they were shooting at us. We have no water, no electricity, no food,” explains a woman, carrying cans.
In these conditions, it is difficult for residents to imagine a post-war period.
“The future of Gaza after the conflict is bleak, the coming period will be even more difficult than the previous one,” predicts Abou Mohammed, 60, who fled Bureij for Rafah. “I think that the Palestinian Authority, with legitimacy, like the Arab countries, are the ones who can govern Gaza, with the help and agreement of Hamas. Hamas must give up power to save the population. »
“The future will mainly be reconstruction. Look at the destroyed hospitals, the ruined schools. There’s nothing left,” adds Ziad Abdo, 60, who also fled to Rafah.
4th Blinken tour
Some 150 trucks were able to enter the territory on Thursday, but NGOs and the UN regularly point out that these supplies remain well below the needs of the population.
Antony Blinken will plead during his tour for humanitarian aid to be increased “considerably”. Arriving Friday in Istanbul, his first stop, he is expected from Sunday in five Arab countries, besides Israel.
His trip, the fourth since the start of the war, also aims to ward off an extension of the conflict, after the elimination – attributed to Israel – of Hamas number two, killed Tuesday in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, by a drone strike.
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of this Shiite movement supported by Iran and ally of Hamas, assured Friday that his fighters would “respond” on “the battlefield” to this strike.< /p>
On the border with Lebanon, exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces have been almost daily since the start of the conflict. On Friday, the Israeli army again carried out air raids targeting Hezbollah sites.
In northern Israel, where tens of thousands of residents were evacuated from the Gaza border area at the start of the conflict, concern is growing.
“Hezbollah is stronger than Hamas”, “military action is needed” to counter it, believes Chen Amit, a 38-year-old sports trainer.
In the Red Sea, the Houthi rebels of Yemen, supported by Iran, are increasing attacks on commercial ships “supporting” Gaza.