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3 Dec, 2023 12:47

Key Netanyahu aide reveals ‘security envelope’ to enclose Gaza

Top adviser to PM Benjamin Netanyahu Mark Regev told reporters the move would not be an attempt to take “territory from Gaza”
Key Netanyahu aide reveals ‘security envelope’ to enclose Gaza

Israel is going to create a “security envelope” in Gaza once its military has vanquished Hamas, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has revealed to the media. Earlier, Reuters reported that the Israeli government had informed several countries about its plans for a “buffer zone” in the Palestinian enclave.

Israel launched its military operation against Hamas after Palestinian militants carried out a surprise incursion into the Jewish state, killing 1,200 people and abducting several hundred more. Netanyahu’s war cabinet has named the complete eradication of the Islamist group from Gaza as its aim. No clear picture has emerged yet as to the enclave’s future, however.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Mark Regev said that “Israel will have to have a security envelope,” adding that “we can never again allow terrorists to cross the border and butcher our people the way they did on October 7.

The official hastened to stress that “that is not Israel taking territory from Gaza,” describing the planned arrangement as “common sense.

On Friday Reuters reported, citing several anonymous officials, that Israel had notified Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Türkiye that it intended to carve out a buffer zone in Gaza after the hostilities were over.

That same day, Israeli broadcaster Kan cited two informed sources in its report that Prime Minister Netanyahu had shared the security-envelope plans with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the previous day.

Another anonymous senior Israeli security source told Reuters that “it is not clear at the moment how deep this will be and whether it could be one kilometer or two kilometers, or hundreds of meters” inside the Palestinian enclave. Gaza is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) long and just 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) at its widest, and is home to some 2.3 million people.

Also on Friday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made it clear that Washington does not “support any reduction of the geographic limits of Gaza… Gaza must remain Palestinian land, and cannot be reduced.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal alleged that President Joe Biden’s administration was discussing with Israel the potential relocation of Hamas militants out of Gaza to end the bloodshed and minimize damage to the Palestinian territory, already ravaged by massive Israeli airstrikes.

According to Palestinian health authorities, at least 15,200 people have been killed in the enclave since early October, with thousands more injured.

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