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Israeli Security Cabinet Debates 'Day-After' Gaza Plan as Blinken Returns to Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel – An Israeli Security Cabinet discussion over what will happen the day after the war in Gaza had to be postponed after an argument broke out, as fighting continued in the Gaza Strip on day 91 of the conflict.

Israel is trying to come up with a plan for governing the volatile area after the war ends. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, the first senior official to go public with a blueprint, presented a four-part plan. It includes:

  1. Ongoing Israeli military control of the overall security situation
  2. A multinational task force, led by the U.S., partnering with European and moderate Arab nations to oversee civil affairs and the economic rehabilitation of Gaza
  3. Egypt to take responsibility for main civilian border crossing in Gaza
  4. Existing Palestinian administration mechanisms would remain

The Gallant plan does not include UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which Israel says has worked in lockstep with Hamas; nor does it include a return of Israeli communities to the Gaza Strip.

Some say it touched a raw nerve in more conservative members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, who opposed the forced removal of some 9,000 Israelis from their communities in the Gaza Strip 18 years ago. Many believe if they had not been pulled out in what was known as the "disengagement," October 7th would not have happened.

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As the war continues, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on his way to Israel for the fourth time in three months. He's expected to focus on preventing the Israel-Hamas war from spreading in the region.

Netanyahu met with visiting U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Thursday, who said he was committed to bringing stability to Israel. Graham visited Kfar Aza, one of the 22 communities near Gaza worst hit by the October 7th massacre.

"This attack was primarily motivated, I think, to stop the effort to reconcile between Saudi Arabia and Israel to build on the Abraham Accords," Graham said. "The brutality here was so strong and so visible, making it impossible for Israel not to respond. The destruction of Hamas is non-negotiable, whatever it takes, as long as it takes."

A convoy of Israeli troops moves in the Gaza Strip as seen from southern Israel, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A convoy of Israeli troops moves in the Gaza Strip as seen from southern Israel, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Inside Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces raided a Hamas base that included a "branched underground network" connecting to an underground weapons factory.

IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari explained, "There were a number of trap doors to make it difficult to get into. Behind the doors were explosive materials, machines, and other tools, from which they created long-range rockets and other means of warfare used for carrying out terrorist operations for years on the territory of the State of Israel."

Hagari continued, "The day before yesterday we blew up the tunnel network of the production site in the center of the Gaza Strip and all the machines. The damage to the production sites and Hamas's rocket launch capability and its reduction, as is carried out throughout the war, continues to be one of the main objectives of the military operation."

A day earlier, Hagari noted that the U.S. and international intelligence agencies are supporting Israel's findings on the Hamas terror infrastructure under Shifa Hospital.

"Based on these intelligence agencies, these actions by Hamas, are an indication of Hamas’ terror activity and how they cynically exploit hospitals for terror and also for holding hostages," Hagari stated.

Israel also exposed evidence that Hamas is educating children to hate Israel and Jews, something advocacy groups have been saying for years.

In non-war times, Hamas operates summer camps where children learn to shoot weapons, storm tunnels, fight tanks and kidnap soldiers.

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During the current war, Israel says Hamas has been employing children to deliver messages and ammunition to terrorists, knowing that Israel complies with international law and won't harm children.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and