Israel-Gaza war: Israeli defence chief rejects military regime in Gaza and calls on Netanyahu to decide on postwar governance – as it happened – The Guardian

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Israeli defence minister, Yoav Gallant, in a press conference on Wednesday, also called on the Israeli government to make a decision about postwar governance in Gaza.
Gallant said that soon after the 7 October attacks, he had promoted a plan for a new Palestinian administration not linked to Hamas but “got no response” from various Israeli cabinet forums, according to a Reuters report.
He added that this effectively meant a military regime in Gaza, which he said he would not agree to, according to comments carried by Haaretz. The Israeli minister was also quoted as saying:
Soon, we will be required to make a decision on how to return [Israelis] to their homes in the north – through an agreement or through military action.
Here’s a recap of the latest developments:
At least 35,233 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli attacks since 7 October, according to the latest figures by the territory’s health ministry on Wednesday.
Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel must do “what is required” in Rafah despite disagreements with its longtime ally the US. The Israeli prime minister, in an interview with CNBC, acknowledged a “disagreement” with Washington over his country’s military offensive in the southernmost Gaza city, but he stood firm that the operation would be necessary.
The Israeli leader said that it is pointless to “talk about the day after while Hamas is still intact.” “There is only one substitute for victory – defeat. My government will not agree to this,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Netanyahu also repeated his claim that there is not a humanitarian crisis in southern Gaza.
Netanyahu said his government unanimously rejected the UN decision to promote the recognition of a Palestinian state, his office said. “We will not let them establish a terror state from which they can attack us even more,” he said on Wednesdau. “Nobody will prevent us, Israel, from exercising our basic right to defend ourselves – not the UN general assembly and not any other entity.”
The US state department has moved a $1bn package of weapons aid for Israel into the congressional review process, two US officials said on Tuesday. The latest weapons package includes tank rounds, mortars and armored tactical vehicles, according to multiple sources in US media.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said Israel must have a clear and concrete plan for the future of Gaza. Blinken, in a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday, said that the US “do not support and will not support an Israeli occupation”, adding that “we can’t have a vacuum in Gaza that’s likely to be filled by chaos.”
Turkey’s foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, told his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, that Israel’s attack on the Gazan city of Rafah is unacceptable, according to a Turkish diplomatic source. In a call on Wednesday, Fidan also told Blinken that it was important to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza as soon as possible.
Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, called on the Israeli government to make a decision about postwar governance in Gaza. Gallant, in comments carried by Haaretz, said he would not agree to a military regime in Gaza and claimed he had promoted a plan for a new Palestinian administration not linked to Hamas but “got no response” from various Israeli cabinet forums.
Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, has said the country’s relationship with the US is “essential, strong and stable”.
The European Union has urged Israel to end its operation in Rafah immediately as the operation disrupts the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is leading to more internal displacement, famine and suffering, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell said on Wednesday.
Israel’s military confirmed that it has pulled some troops out of the Zeitoun area in northern Gaza, but says that it continues to operate there, and has intensified its operations in Jabaliya refugee camp as well as carrying out what it described as “targeted operations in specific areas of eastern Rafah”.
A senior Hezbollah commander, Hussain Ibrahim Mekky, has been killed by an Israeli strike inside Lebanon. Lebanon’s emergency responders said the strike also wounded two people who were taken to a hospital. Israel’s military described him as being “responsible for the planning and execution of numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and territory since the start of the war.”
Israel and Egypt are embroiled in a growing diplomatic row over the Rafah border crossing after Israel’s takeover of the Gaza side of the crossing, amid warnings Cairo may be planning to downgrade relations.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has said it faces “significant disruptions” to its humanitarian operations due to Israel’s recent ground operations in Rafah. In a statement, the organisation said “the closure of the Rafah crossing and a blockade on entry of humanitarian workers and aid, including fuel, [is] critically hindering our ability to deliver essential services and aid to those in desperate need.”
Palestinian officials said Israeli troops killed a man on Wednesday as clashes broke out after a West Bank march commemorating the mass displacement of Palestinians in the Nakba of 1948. Ayser Muhammad Safi, a 20-year-old student at Birzeit University, was shot in the neck during a confrontation between a group of young men and Israeli forces, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
Ireland’s foreign minister, Micheál Martin, said his country will recognise Palestine as a sovereign state by the end of the month. In March the leaders of Spain, Ireland, Slovenia and Malta said in a joint statement that they stand ready to recognise Palestinian statehood, and last week, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell mooted 21 May as the date.
The UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has been accused of acting as “a bystander” to the “horror” of deaths of Palestinians in Gaza. Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan told the Commons on Wednesday: “Can the Prime Minister tell me why he allows Israel to get away with it unchallenged? And why he continues to act as a bystander to such horror?”
Israeli defence minister, Yoav Gallant, in a press conference on Wednesday, also called on the Israeli government to make a decision about postwar governance in Gaza.
Gallant said that soon after the 7 October attacks, he had promoted a plan for a new Palestinian administration not linked to Hamas but “got no response” from various Israeli cabinet forums, according to a Reuters report.
He added that this effectively meant a military regime in Gaza, which he said he would not agree to, according to comments carried by Haaretz. The Israeli minister was also quoted as saying:
Soon, we will be required to make a decision on how to return [Israelis] to their homes in the north – through an agreement or through military action.
Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, has said the country’s relationship with the US is “essential, strong and stable” despite “differences of opinion”.
Gallant, in a televised news conference on Wednesday, said he wanted to “make it clear that the US was the first to stand with us in actions, not in words”, the Times of Israel reported.
“We resolve the disputes in the closed rooms, not in interviews or in tweets,” Gallant added, in veiled remarks at other politicians.
The Israeli minister’s comments come amid reports that the US is moving forward with a $1bn package of weapons aid for Israel that includes tank rounds, mortars and armored tactical vehicles, just a week after Joe Biden said he had delayed a weapons shipment to Israel over concerns they might be used for a major invasion of Rafah.
Egypt, whose general intelligence directorate has long acted as a key mediator between Israel and Hamas, could withdraw from ceasefire negotiations, according to Israeli media reports on Wednesday.
Egypt’s leadership has been forced into a complex balancing act by the war in Gaza. On the one hand, there is widespread sympathy for the plight of Palestinians among ordinary Egyptians and the political elite.
Set against that, however, is Egypt’s determination not to be complicit in what it sees as Israeli efforts aimed at displacing Palestinians out of Gaza into Egypt – a long-term concern in Cairo. Nor does Egypt want to be seen as accepting a new situation in which Israel fully controls all of Gaza’s borders, including with Egypt.
“At government level sentiment is pretty closely aligned with popular feeling,” HA Hellyer, an expert on Middle East security at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Royal United Services Institute, told the Guardian.
“There is a great deal of anger. Whereas in 2014 there was a lot of public expression of antipathy towards Hamas that is not visible in this conflict,” said Hellyer, who is in Cairo.
If there is a quandary it is because Egyptians want to help Gaza but the overwhelming political consideration is that Egypt does not want to be seen as complicit in ethnic cleansing or complicit in putting to bed the Palestinian cause, which is what would happen f the population of Gaza is cleared out.
Israel’s capture of the Rafah crossing on 7 May is widely seen as being in breach of the Philadelphi accord, which was added to the Israel-Egypt peace treaty in 2005 after the evacuation of Israeli settlements in Gaza and was designed to regulate the border between Gaza and Egypt.
Prior to Israel’s takeover of the crossing, Egyptian officials warned publicly that any such move was a red line that would put the peace treaty at risk. Israel’s foreign affairs minister, Israel Katz, said in comments released by his office:
The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends.
Katz said he had spoken with his British and German counterparts about “the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing”.
Egypt has said the crossing has remained open from its side throughout the conflict that began between Israel and Hamas on 7 October. Cairo has been one of the mediators in stalled ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas. But its relationship with Israel has come under strain during the conflict, especially since the Israeli advance in Rafah.
Israel and Egypt are embroiled in a growing diplomatic row over the Rafah border crossing after Israel’s takeover of the Gaza side of the crossing, amid warnings Cairo may be planning to downgrade relations.
In recent days Egypt has announced it will no longer participate in allowing the transit of aid into Gaza and said it planned to join the genocide case brought by South Africa against Israel at the UN’s top court.
Israel’s largest Arab neighbour has been growing increasingly angry over its conduct in the Gaza war, which has brought relations to a point of friction unprecedented since a peace treaty signed in 1979.
The Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza has been a vital route for aid to the coastal territory, where a humanitarian crisis has deepened and some people are at risk of famine. On 7 May Israel seized control of the crossing as it stepped up its military campaign around Rafah. Since then aid has accumulated on the Egyptian side.
Israel said it was up to Egypt to reopen the crossing and allow humanitarian relief into Gaza, prompting Cairo to denounce what it described as “desperate attempts” to shift blame for the blockage of aid.
Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel’s security cabinet that the country is “not a vassal state” of the US a day after Joe Biden warned that a major attack on Rafah would cross a “red line”, according to a report.
The Israeli leader went on a long rant during a meeting with his security cabinet, Axios reported, in which he compared his clash with the US president over Rafah to Israel’s prime minister, David Ben Gurion, declaring independence in 1948 over the objections of US secretary of state George Marshall.
Netanyahu told cabinet members that he knew how to push back against pressure from Washington and would do it again if necessary, the report says, citing an aide to the Israeli prime minister. Netanyahu also reportedly said:
When is comes to threats to our security we will do whatever it takes.
Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel must do “what is required” in Rafah despite disagreements with its longtime ally the US,
The Israeli prime minister, in an interview with CNBC, acknowledged a “disagreement” with Washington over his country’s military offensive in the southernmost Gaza city, but he stood firm that the operation would be necessary. He said:
Yes, we do have a disagreement on Gaza. Rather, on Rafah. But we have to do what we have to do … Sometimes you have to … you just have to do what is required to ensure your survival and your future. We cannot continue into the future by having Hamas retake Gaza.
Netanyahu said he hoped he could “see eye to eye” with the US, but insisted that “ultimately we do what we have to do to protect the life of our nation.”
At least 35,233 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli attacks since 7 October, according to the latest figures by the territory’s health ministry on Wednesday.
At least 79,141 have been wounded, the latest figures show.
Some images have come through from the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza. Earlier Israel’s military announced it had pulled out some troops from the area.
Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan told his US counterpart Antony Blinken in a call on Wednesday that Israel’s attack on the Gazan city of Rafah is unacceptable, a Turkish diplomatic source has told Reuters.
Fidan also told Blinken that it was important to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza as soon as possible, while emphasising that obstacles to the access of humanitarian aid into the territory must be removed, the source told the news agency.

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