On Saturday, Dec. 2, Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid released the following policy proposal regarding Israel's strategy for the Gaza Strip when ground operations have been completed.
As this is the first public policy proposal by an Israeli politician, ALL ISRAEL NEWS has decided to release a translation of the document. The full document, in English, is listed below.
Gaza - and then what?
Policy documents are a boring matter, and also politically dangerous - you know which quarter of a sentence will be peeled from them. This is also why Netanyahu is wary of them like fire. But this creates a problem: if a policy is not formulated, there is no policy. The best example is laid before us. The State of Israel is at war in Gaza. There is no more just war than this, and we all agree on its goals: the return of the kidnapped and the eradication of Hamas. But the question is not only how to get there, but also what happens the day after. Orderly countries, and functioning governments, should not move forward without defining for themselves where they are going.
In recent weeks we have been working on an orderly policy document concerning Gaza. We consulted with a series of officials about it, including Major General Amos Yadlin, Major General Giora Eiland and the strategic consulting company MIND Israel, Dr. Dan Shiptan, former head of the National Assembly Dr. Eyal Hulta, former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alon Oshfiz, and many more - Among them are our friends in the American government. We did not agree with all the good advice we received, but we listened to all of it.
The document we drafted is deliberately "lean" and short. We limited ourselves only to the question of Gaza, without going into geopolitical consequences such as the struggle over the Iranian nuclear weapon, the connection (and there is one) between the war in Gaza and the war in Ukraine, the sudden change in Turkey's position and the less sudden change of Russia, the position of Egypt and Jordan, and of course the consequences for the fight against Hezbollah in the northern arena. Precisely on the question that seems to be the most complicated - the status of the Palestinian Authority - there is a relative consensus between the current government (or at least the non-Messianic parts of it), the American administration, and almost all the parties we spoke with: they all understand that the Palestinian Authority will be part of the civilian administration of Gaza after the war, but all we also know that the Authority will have to go through a fundamental and profound change before Israel will agree to this happening.
It is impossible to have an in-depth discussion of Israel's security without touching on all these broad implications, but the way to there goes through the simple question of what we want to happen in Gaza. It is appropriate to at least put a paper on the table to discuss the question of where we are marching in Gaza, and what should happen there after we win the war. The paper divides the future of Gaza into two periods - the immediate (some of us talked about the next five years, some less), and then the permanent situation.
Below is the document:
Gaza - December 2023 policy document
Completion Status - Phase I
Israel's overarching goals are: The return of all the kidnapped, captives and missing persons, the eradication of Hamas in Gaza, and the restoration of security to the border settlements.
Israel, in close coordination with the US and the international community, will work to eliminate the economic capabilities of Hamas and to create a financial stranglehold on the organization and its partners.
Israel will act as persistently as it takes to eliminate the leaders of Hamas wherever they are.
Contrary to the previous rounds, as long as Hamas controls Gaza, Israel will not accept a permanent ceasefire until the objectives are completed.
Israel will agree to humanitarian truces defined in time and will conduct a campaign of varying intensity until the goals are achieved.
Israel will create a perimeter (DMZ) in the north and east of the Gaza Strip for the protection of the settlements of the fence to which Gazans will be prevented from entering by fire. The Gaza encirclement will include the Philadelphi Corridor.
Demilitarization of Gaza is a necessary condition for continuation. The IDF will continue to enter the Gaza Strip according to security needs to ensure prevention of intensification and stop any attempt by Hamas to return to control the Strip.
Israel will not allow Hamas or its direct and indirect agents civilian control of Gaza.
The civilian management of Gaza will be temporarily entrusted in the first stage to an international team led by the United States and with the participation of Arab countries (excluding Turkey and Qatar) and local elements in the Strip not identified by Hamas. This team will deal with management, rehabilitation and humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip, and will build a body to replace UNRWA.
All information agencies will be centralized under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will manage a national effort focused primarily on American public opinion.
Israel will gradually move to a main campaign in the north, where it will work to implement UN Resolution 1701 and remove Hezbollah from the northern border. If the political effort does not succeed, Israel will work militarily to remove it from there.
Completion status - Phase II
Israel will play a central role in building a regional security architecture and an international coalition in the face of the Iranian threat.
Israel will not agree that the Palestinian Authority will take part in the management of life in Gaza as long as an extensive de-radicalization program is not implemented in the Palestinian Authority, which will include education against incitement, the cessation of payments to terrorists and the fight against corruption.
Israel will sign a normalization agreement and deepen security and economic ties with Saudi Arabia.
Israel will initiate a regional conference to discuss the Iranian threat and the expansion of the Abraham Accords - along the lines of the Negev Forum - to which the Palestinian Authority will also be invited (subject to a significant reform of the Palestinian Authority and the progress of the de-radicalization plan).
This conference will determine the permanent civil control mechanism of Gaza.
Israel will return to its commitment to a political solution but will define this as a long-term goal and will define the preconditions - security and political - that must be met before entering into negotiations.
The reconstruction of the Gaza Envelope and its returns will be at the top of the national priorities along with the expansion of the defense budget and organizational changes in the economy.
Taken from the Facebook page of Yair Lapid - Dec. 2, 2023.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.