Based on recent assertions made by Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Defence Minister, it is quite apparent that the ongoing war is nowhere near its end.
Speaking at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting in Tel Aviv on Friday, October 10, 2023, Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant laid out Israel’s war plans and objectives in the Gaza Strip, saying that the war will be divided in three stages.
The first phase, according to Gallant, was “a military campaign.”
“We are in the first phase, in which a military campaign is taking place with [airstrikes] and later with a [ground] maneuver with the purpose of destroying operatives and damaging infrastructure in order to defeat and destroy Hamas,” Gallant said.
The second phase will be continued fighting but at a lower intensity as troops work to “eliminate pockets of resistance.”
He concluded that the last stage of the conflict would include “the creation of a new security regime in the Gaza Strip, the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Strip and the creation of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel.”
Gallant’s comments come a day after he told Israeli troops amassed near the Gaza fence that they will soon see the besieged enclave “from inside”.
Moreover, a former Israeli Prime Minister urged the army to continue with air attacks.
Naftali Bennett opined that the Israeli army should not rush to a land operation into Gaza but continue with air raids for the time being.
The former Prime Minister added that Israel had to use its aerial advantage as Hamas fighters were hiding in tunnels.
Also, the Israeli military disclosed that the majority of the 200 people held captive by Hamas are still alive.
“The majority of the hostages are alive. There were also dead bodies that were taken … to the Gaza Strip,” an army statement said. The military said 20 hostages were children while between 10 and 20 were over the age of 60.
Meanwhile, a number of Palestinians who initially moved south in response to the Israeli order to evacuate “to save themselves” are returning to their homes because Israeli strikes are taking place in the south, too.
“We remain very concerned that Israeli forces’ heavy strikes are continuing across Gaza, including in the south,” UN spokesperson for its human rights office Ravina Shamdasani told reporters.
“The strikes, coupled with extremely difficult living conditions in the south, appear to have pushed some to return to the north, despite the continuing heavy bombing there.”
GCC And ASEAN Join Calls For Ceasefire
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) called for a “permanent ceasefire” and humanitarian access to Gaza.
The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
ASEAN countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Additionally, some world leaders and officials, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, announced their decision to attend a peace summit to be held in Cairo on Saturday, October 21, 2023.
Attendees are expected to discuss the situation in Gaza and ways of de-escalating the conflict.
So far, eight countries have confirmed their attendance. They include Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait and South Africa.
European Council President Charles Michel is also expected to attend the summit.