Middle East

Palestinians will decide Gaza’s future, not Israel, PLO insists

From CNN's Ibrahim Hazboun

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Secretary General Hussein al-Sheikh said Saturday that “the future of the Gaza Strip is determined by the Palestinian people, not Israel.”

The statement follows debates within Israel over the plan for Gaza when combat is finished.

Responding to these plans for a post-war Gaza, Al-Sheikh said, “All scenarios proposed by the occupation politicians and leaders will only lead to failure. Achieving a comprehensive solution and the departure of the occupation is our choice, our program and our strategy.”

As the main component of the Palestinian Authority, the PLO partially runs the occupied West Bank. It was ousted by Hamas from Gaza in 2007

Some context: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant outlined plans for what might follow after the war in a three-page document entitled the “Day After.”

After the war, the Israeli military would maintain “operational freedom of action in the Gaza Strip” and Israel would continue to “carry out the inspection of goods entering” the territory.

Gallant, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right Likud party, said that once the goals of the war have been achieved there would be “no Israeli civilian presence in the Gaza Strip,” appearing to rule out the re-establishment of Israeli settlements in Gaza that Israel unilaterally removed in 2005.

The plan prompted fiery discussion within the Israeli cabinet, according to a source.

Gallant’s plan was criticized Friday by far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who along with far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has advocated for resettling Gazans outside the enclave. Their comments have drawn condemnation from the United States, United Nations officials and several Arab states.

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