Israel’s long-term goal in its military campaign in Gaza is to sever all connections with the region, according to Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. He stated that after defeating Hamas, Israel will terminate its “responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip.” Previously, Israel had provided most of Gaza’s energy needs and monitored imports into the territory. This statement coincides with ongoing Israeli strikes on Gaza, with aid still blocked on the border with Egypt.
The military actions by Israel are in response to attacks by Hamas gunmen on Israel on October 7, resulting in at least 1,400 casualties and 203 people being taken hostage. Israel is preparing for a ground offensive.
Minister Gallant outlined a three-phase plan during a parliamentary committee meeting. The initial stage focuses on destroying Hamas’s infrastructure. Subsequently, Israeli forces will conduct operations with reduced intensity to eliminate “pockets of resistance.” The third phase aims to remove Israel’s responsibility for Gaza and establish a new security reality for Israeli citizens.
Despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the United Nations considers the strip, along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem, to be occupied territory. Consequently, Israel is held accountable for the basic needs of the population in Gaza.
Historically, Israel has permitted Gazans to cross the border for work and has controlled imports into the region to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas. However, following the October 7 attacks, Israel curtailed electricity supplies as well as the delivery of food and medicine, leading the UN to declare the situation in Gaza “beyond catastrophic.”
To alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the US and Egypt have negotiated an agreement to allow some supplies into the region. Although an initial convoy of 20 trucks was scheduled to enter southern Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Friday, it remains stuck on the Egyptian side. Humanitarian organisations emphasise the need for significantly more aid to address the dire circumstances in Gaza.