IDF to manage security in Gaza as Israel stalls on governing decision – Gantz

National Unity party leader and Minister-without-portfolio Benny Gantz on Wednesday said the government has not decided who will run Gaza after the IDF topples Hamas, but that the IDF will need to maintain an extended security presence. “Once the Gaza area is safe, and the northern area will be safe, and the Judea & Samaria region will calm down – we will [go] down and review an alternative mechanism for Gaza. I do not know what it will be. But I do know what cannot be there – An active presence of Hamas with governance and military capabilities,” Gantz told a closed press conference. He stated, “They cannot be here. We can come up with any mechanism we think is appropriate, but Hamas will not be part of it. So in terms of future strategy – in the Southern Area, we need to replace the Hamas regime and ensure security superiority for us.” “On the question of the operation’s length – there are no limitations. One can see it as a whole month that has passed and another can see it as merely a month passing.” “The war here is for our existence and for Zionism, and so I can’t provide an estimate of the length of each stage in the war and the fighting that will ensue after. We can’t retreat from our strategic objective,” he explained. Gantz said, “The State of Israel didn’t just face a cruel brutal attack, but this was an attack on any human value one can think of. An attack on the Zionist & Democratic concepts. Israel cannot accept such an active threat on its borders. The whole idea of people living side by side in the Middle East was jeopardized by Hamas.” In addition, he stated, “It was an attack on the democratic way of life here – Israel is the only outpost in the Middle East. We believe therefore, that we are struggling and fighting not only to defend ourselves, but also fighting for something bigger than ourselves.” He said, “Hamas started this war, but Israel is going to win it. Have no doubt about it. Yes, it will take some time and there will be casualties. Though we are trying as much as possible to move Gazan people south and people are dying, we are doing what we can, and we will win this war.” The National Unity party leader said, “I have always said you can conduct special operations if there’s an opportunity, but you must go to war only when necessary. This time it’s a national necessity. This is why I joined the emergency government – this is not a political partnership. It’s a partnership in destiny.” Moving to the conflict with Hezbollah, he said, “Lebanon must bear State responsibility, and we must demand it. I believe this is part of Nasrallah’s considerations as well. Though Hezbollah is an Iranian branch, it’s a Lebanese organization. If he (Nasrallah) decides to protect Gaza at the expense of Beirut – so be it. I highly recommend him to do the right calculus.”