Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has claimed that IDF forces have entered the heart of Gaza city which Telaviv describes as the “center of gravity” of Hamas’s operations.
“IDF forces are in the heart of Gaza City, they came from the north and the south. They stormed it in full coordination between land, air and sea forces,”Gallant said.
Israel government said it is determined to end the militant group’s rule over the strip following its attack on southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, which killed around 1,400 people.
The United Nations says the humanitarian situation in the densely-packed Gaza Strip is dire, with its roughly 2 million inhabitants needing much more food and medicine.
Israel, which put the territory under an almost-total blockade once the war began, has said more aid has been going in from Egypt in the past week. But the UN says the quantities are nowhere near enough.
Israel has resisted pressure, including from the US and Arab nations, to restrain its operations in Gaza, which the Hamas-run Health Ministry says have killed more than 10,000 people.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about Gaza’s future on Wednesday.
“Gaza cannot continue to be run by Hamas — that simply invites a repetition of October 7,” Blinken said in Tokyo while at a Group of Seven meeting for foreign ministers.
“The reality is that there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict, but it is imperative that the Palestinian people be central to governance in Gaza,” Blinken said.
He added there must be “no reduction in the territory of Gaza.” Israel has suggested there will be a buffer zone inside Gaza to prevent anyone approaching the border in future.
The most likely scenario is for an international force led by Arab nations to govern Gaza once fighting ends, according to Yaar, the former member of Israel’s National Security Council.
There will be a “gap period” before they hand over to a Palestinian entity that’s in charge of both the West Bank and Gaza, he said.
Both stages will be “complicated” and it’ll be difficult to convince any Arab government to run Gaza, he said. “But it’s the only option other than Israeli occupation.”
The Palestinian Authority, which rules Palestinians in the West Bank, says the future of Gaza’s governance shouldn’t be discussed until there’s a ceasefire.
But PA President Mahmoud Abbas has said the organization will “bear our full responsibilities” for the territory when the time comes for political negotiations.