PALESTINE

Sun 25 Feb 2024 1:52 pm - Jerusalem Time

Israel will prevent the return of residents of northern Gaza as a bargaining chip to end the war

Israel plans to prevent the return of displaced people in the southern Gaza Strip to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip in the coming months, taking advantage of its army’s continued control over what it describes as the “Netzarim Corridor,” between the southern neighborhoods of Gaza City and the Gaza Valley, according to what the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported today, Sunday. 


The newspaper indicated that Israel will use this control “as an important bargaining chip for the process of ending the fighting against Hamas and handing over control over it to local government entities of which Hamas is not part, as a condition for withdrawing from the corridor and returning a million Gazans to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip,” according to what the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper reported today, Sunday.


The newspaper added that according to Israeli army estimates, 30-40% of local Hamas fighters are still active in the northern Gaza Strip, after the Israeli army operated there with extreme force at the beginning of the ground maneuver.


Meanwhile, the Israeli army seeks to push the remaining civilian population in this area to move south.


In parallel, the Israeli army continues its military operations in the Khan Yunis area, claiming to maintain military pressure on Hamas in parallel with negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal.


The Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevy, said during deliberations to assess the situation that took place in the northern Gaza Strip, “We are in the days of negotiations on the liberation of the kidnapped. I do not know how these negotiations will develop, and we are busy with the fighting. I want you to know one thing, which is that there is a relationship between the two matters.” This is the goal of the war. We intend to do many things to achieve it. This is the lever (pressure) that we are placing on Hamas.”


According to the newspaper, “The conviction in Israel is that it will not be possible to end the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip without addressing the Rafah issue.” Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would hold a cabinet meeting to approve military plans to invade Rafah, including the evacuation of 1.4 million displaced people in the city and its environs.


The newspaper added that Israel will present the plan to invade Rafah to Egypt, claiming that it is a plan to fight the four Hamas brigades remaining in the city, “so as not to surprise Cairo,” and that Israel “will coordinate with the Egyptians to work on the obstacle that Israel wants to build underground (at the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip). Gaza) in order to prevent future smuggling operations.

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Israel will prevent the return of residents of northern Gaza as a bargaining chip to end the war