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Could a mass exile of Hamas terrorists end the Gaza war? US and Israel are discussing it, according to WSJ

Mass exile of terrorists one option for the future of Gaza

Illustrative image - Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing (Photo: Shutterstock)

The current truce agreement between Israel and Hamas has now stretched into its seventh day, but cracks are starting to appear and both sides are preparing to resume the fighting in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the United States and Israel are intensifying discussions about the future of the Gaza Strip, with one of the options weighed being the mass exile of thousands of Hamas terrorists from Gaza, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

After almost two months of intense fighting, Israel has eliminated a few thousand Hamas fighters so far, meaning that some 20- to 30,000 fighters are still alive, according to Israeli estimations.

As the Israeli military is eyeing the southern part of the Gaza Strip as the ground operation’s next big target, Washington has increased its warnings to Israel to focus on surgical strikes so as not to harm the civilian population. The warning brings into question whether Israel will be able to accomplish its stated goal of the war – to eradicate the Hamas terrorist organization's military capabilities.

One way to deal with the thousands of Hamas fighters, who may theoretically still be alive at the end of the war, can be lifted out of Israel’s military history books, specifically, the 1982 Lebanon War.

During that war, Israel besieged and bombed Lebanon’s capital Beirut for two months to weaken the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) power in the country. The situation was resolved after then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat agreed to leave the country, together with his fighters, and transferred his headquarters to Tunisia.

Such an allowance would mainly apply to those who serve in the lower rungs of the terror organization, as Israel would likely insist on eliminating all of the terror group’s leadership, which several politicians have publicly vowed to do.

However, a senior Israeli official expressed his doubts about whether Hamas would even consider such a deal.

“I don’t see them as rational as the PLO was,” the official told the WSJ. “It’s a more religious, jihadistic organization connected to the ideas of Iran.”

The United States has repeatedly called on Israel to consider possible options for an end-game in the Gaza Strip, with the Biden administration speaking about a return to the two-state solution under the rule of the Palestinian Authority (PA)and warning Israel that it shouldn’t occupy the Gaza Strip after the war.

On the other hand, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls to allow the PA to be back in charge, telling ABC News on Nov. 7: “I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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