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Netanyahu announces plans for open ended control over Gaza

ISRAELI leader Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a plan today for open-ended control over security and civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip. 

This came a day after China demanded justice for the Palestinians at a hearing of a top United Nations court. 

But the plan outlined by the Israeli prime minister made clear the intention of Israel to deepen its control over Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu presented the two-page document to his security Cabinet late Thursday for approval.

While lacking specifics, the plan is the first time Mr Netanyahu has presented a formal postwar vision. It reiterates that Israel is determined to crush Hamas.

Mr Netanyahu’s plan calls for freedom of action for Israel’s military across a demilitarised Gaza after the war to thwart any security threat. It says Israel would establish a buffer zone inside Gaza.

It also calls for Gaza to be governed by local officials who it says would “not be identified with countries or entities that support terrorism and will not receive payment from them.”

Over the past decades, Israel has repeatedly tried and failed to set up hand-picked local Palestinian governing bodies.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers pockets of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, denounced Mr Netanyahu’s plan as “colonialist and racist,” saying it amounts to Israeli reoccupation of Gaza. 

US President Joe Biden’s administration says it wants to see a reformed Palestinian Authority governing both Gaza and the West Bank as a step toward Palestinian statehood. But Mr Netanyahu has vowed not to allow this.

Separately, ceasefire efforts appeared to have regained traction, with mediators set to present a new proposal at a meeting this weekend in Paris. 

They are working to an unofficial deadline of March 10, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is due to begin — and the date named by Israel for an assault on Rafah.

The overall Palestinian death toll since the start of the war rose to more than 29,514, with close to 70,000 people wounded, Gaza health officials said.

Meanwhile, speaking on Thursday at the International Court of Justice hearing at The Hague in Netherlands, China’s Foreign Ministry legal adviser Ma Ximin said: “Justice [for Palestine] has been long delayed, but it must not be denied.

“Fifty-seven years have passed since Israel began its occupation. The unlawful nature of the occupation and sovereignty over the occupied territories remain unchanged.”

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