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Delays Force IDF to Fight New Battles in North, Central Gaza as Israeli Leaders Spar over 'Day After' Hamas

Backdropped by smoke rising to the sky after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli tank stands near the Israel-Gaza border as seen from southern Israel, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Backdropped by smoke rising to the sky after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli tank stands near the Israel-Gaza border as seen from southern Israel, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli forces are battling Hamas again in areas such as northern Gaza, where it had supposedly already cleared the terrorists out months ago.

Now, Hamas appears to be regrouping in the vacuum, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spar over the future governance of Gaza.

As civilians return to the central and northern Gaza Strip, battles in those areas are kicking up again.

In one of those areas, the Jabaliya refugee camp, a friendly-fire tank incident that left five Israeli soldiers dead and seven more wounded underscored the renewed fighting. That is sparking arguments about the day after the conflict.

Gallant is blaming Netanyahu for saying Israeli troops need to return to the once-pacified areas because Netanyahu hasn't helped other Gaza Palestinians take control. Gazans fear that may mean long-term military rule by Israel.

"I call on the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to make a decision and declare that Israel will not rule over civilian affairs in Gaza, there won’t be Israeli military rule in Gaza and an alternative leadership to Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be advanced immediately," Gallant declared at a press conference.

Netanyahu insists no new Palestinian leaders will step up to govern until all the Hamas terrorists who would kill such leaders are themselves wiped out.

"Until it is clear that Hamas does not control Gaza militarily, no party will be willing to take over the civilian management of Gaza for fear of its safety. Therefore, the talk about 'the day after' when Hamas remains intact, will remain just talk - empty of content," Netanyahu stated.

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The Biden team is pushing for a two-state solution that would see the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in charge.

Netanyahu countered that he's not willing to replace "Hamastan" with "Fatahstan." He believes the Palestinian Authority must not be allowed to rule Gaza because it "supports terror, educates to terror and funds terror."

In an interview with CNBC, Netanyahu noted a two-state solution would be the greatest reward for terrorism, and leaving Hamas in place now would allow them to rebuild themselves.

"A non-Hamas civilian administration there, with an Israeli military responsibility, overall military responsibility, that’s the only thing that would work," the prime minister said. "But there’s one pre-condition, the day after Hamas is the day after Hamas is destroyed. You can’t have it both ways."

Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice is hearing South Africa's request today that the court order Israel to stop its offensive against Hamas battalions in Rafah, their last major stronghold.

The court will hear Israel's defense Friday of why it should be allowed to attack Rafah and continue the Gaza war.

And Egypt, which borders Israel and Gaza, and was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, says it's joining South Africa in its legal assault on Israel at the International Court.

Sameh Shoukry, Egypt's foreign minister, declared, "It is necessary to take tangible steps to push Israel to stop its military action and take into consideration the humanitarian damage that took place in the (Gaza) Strip."

In the north, Israel's Air Force pounded targets in Lebanon after a Hezbollah drone exploded near a major traffic intersection. It was the deepest penetration into Israel since October 7th, landing outside Tiberias, which is on the Sea of Galilee. 

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