Netanyahu says Israel will maintain “indefinite security control” over Gaza – Palestinians will forever be held as POWs in a concentration camp
11/17/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

For the first time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that Israel's true intentions are not simply to rid Gaza of Hamas, but rather to seize control over the entire territory forever.

After the mission is complete, Israel will take the "overall security responsibility" in Gaza for an "indefinite period," Netanyahu stated in an interview with ABC News this week.

According to Netanyahu, Gaza must be governed by "those who don't want to continue the way of Hamas."

"I think Israel, for an indefinite period, will have the overall security responsibility because we've seen what happens when we don't have it," were Netanyahu's exact words about the planned Israeli takeover of Gaza.

(Related: If Israel plans to rule over Gaza forever after the war, does that mean the U.S. is on the hook forever to financially back it?)

Israel already in control of Gaza

Truth be told, Israel already maintains full control over Gaza, including its land, air and sea spaces, not to mention a total blockade around the territory in the form of a massive, fenced-in wall.

Israel previously withdrew its forces from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and has since gone back in following the October 7 attack by Hamas that left around 1,200 Israelis dead.

Israel's outsized retribution has so far resulted in at least 10,328 Palestinian deaths and counting due to airstrikes and ground assault.

After Israeli forces left Gaza in 2005, Hamas has largely run the territory through its own institutions using its own security apparatus. At the same time, Israel largely – though not entirely – controls Gaza's supply of water, fuel, electricity and food, all of which were shut off after the October 7 attack.

According to Yonatan Touval, an analyst at the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies (Mitvim), Netanyahu's statements to ABC News, though revealing in their own rite, are still largely vague.

"I don't think that the full meaning of it has been thought out in specific terms," Touval says.

"But it's a conceptual idea that dates back to the Oslo Accords where Israel insisted on maintaining 'overall security responsibility' for the West Bank, which basically meant that Israel controls all crossings into and out of the West Bank (also on the Jordanian side), and retained for itself the right to intervene whenever its own security needs were under threat."

After the war, it is entirely possible that Israel will no longer allow Gaza to maintain even the small shred of autonomy it held before October 7, which was barely anything in the first place.

"The basic idea here is that while the internal policing would be handled by someone else, Israel will feel free (even bound) to act, also inside the Strip, whenever its own security interests were deemed under threat," Touval added.

"Is it sustainable? If there is a functional policing mechanism for the day-to-day, the concept of 'overall security responsibility' could work."

In the same ABC News interview, Netanyahu made it clear that Israel will not agree to any kind of ceasefire unless there is a full release of all Israeli hostages currently held in the besieged territory.

"There'll be no ceasefire, general ceasefire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages," Netanyahu said. "As far as tactical little pauses, an hour here, an hour there."

Were Israel to agree to a ceasefire like much of the world is calling for, it would "hamper the war effort," according to Netanyahu.

"It'll hamper our effort to get our hostages out because the only thing that works on these criminals in Hamas is the military pressure that we're exerting."

The latest news about the conflict between Israel and its neighbors can be found at

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