- US President Joe Biden says occupation of Gaza “a big mistake”.
- Israeli forces claim they have uncovered weapons at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.
- Hamas denied the accusation and on Wednesday dismissed the Israeli statements as “lies and cheap propaganda”.
“If we pull back, then who will take over? We can’t leave a vacuum. We have to think about what will be the mechanism; there are many ideas that are thrown in the air,” Herzog said in an interview with the FT published on Thursday.
Herzog told FT that Israel’s government was discussing many ideas about how Gaza would be run once the war ends and added that he assumed that the United States and “our neighbours in the region” would have some involvement in the post-conflict order.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with President Isaac Herzog. Source: AAP / Abir Sultan/EPA
Biden said on Wednesday that he had made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a two-state solution was the only way to resolve the Hamas-Israel war and that occupying Gaza would be “a big mistake”.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas but has not put forward a plan to determine who would govern Gaza after the war. Netanyahu has said that Israel would have to maintain overall security responsibility in Gaza for an indefinite period.
Al-Shifa raid: Israel claims it found weapons, Hamas command centre at hospital
Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari on Wednesday said the troops, who entered the hospital earlier that day after encircling it for days, had found weapons, combat gear and technological equipment there and were continuing their search. These claims have not been independently verified.
Israel has consistently maintained that the hospital sits above a Hamas headquarters, an assertion the United States, an ally of Israel, said on Tuesday was supported by its own intelligence.
The Israeli military released photos of a soldier standing beside cardboard boxes marked “medical supplies” and “baby food”, at a location Reuters verified was inside al-Shifa. Other photos showed Israeli troops in tactical formation walking past makeshift tents and mattresses.
An injured Palestinian man receives treatment at the al-Shifa hospital on 5 November. Recently, international attention has focused on the fate of hundreds of patients trapped inside without electricity to operate basic medical equipment. Source: AAP, AP / Abed Khaled
International attention has focused on the fate of hundreds of patients trapped inside without electricity to operate basic medical equipment, and thousands of who had sought shelter there. Gaza officials say that many patients including three died in recent days as a result of Israel’s encirclement of the hospital.
“Before entering the hospital our forces were confronted by explosive devices and terrorist squads, fighting ensued in which terrorists were killed,” the Israeli military said.
Since then, Israel has put Gaza’s entire population of 2.3 million under siege, battering the crowded strip with air strikes.
An Israeli tank in Gaza City pictured in a video release by the Israeli Defence Forces on Tuesday. Source: AAP, AP / Israel Defence Forces
Gaza health officials, considered reliable by the United Nations, say about 11,500 Palestinians are now confirmed killed, around 40 per cent of them children, and more are buried under the rubble.
Hamas, in its entirety, is designated as a terrorist organisation by countries including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. New Zealand and Paraguay list only its military wing as a terrorist group. In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly voted against a resolution condemning Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organisation.
The US, Russia and Britain, who are council veto powers, abstained from Wednesday’s vote on the resolution drafted by Malta. The remaining 12 members voted in favour.
Wednesday’s resolution also does not condemn the actions of Hamas — a point of contention for Israel’s ally, the US, and the UK.