Yoav Gallant
Yoav GallantAriel Hermoni, Defense Ministry

A senior official in US President Joe Biden’s administration said on Wednesday that Washington shares the concerns voiced by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on the issue of who will rule Gaza after the war.

“We share the Minister of Defense Gallant's concern that Israel has not developed any plans for holding and governing territory the IDF clears, thereby allowing Hamas to regenerate in those areas,” the senior official said.

“This is a concern because our objective is to see Hamas defeated," added the official.

Earlier on Wednesday, Gallant gave a statement in which he demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declare that Israel will not have civilian control of the Gaza Strip after the war, and that there will be a discussion on the possibilities for a governing alternative to Hamas.

Galant stated that "Hamas no longer functions as a military organization - most of its battalions have been dismantled, and it has turned to terrorist warfare, conducted by individuals and small squads."

"However, as long as Hamas retains control over civilian life in Gaza, it may rebuild and strengthen, thus requiring the IDF to return and fight, in areas where it has already operated," Gallant said. "We must dismantle Hamas’ governing capabilities in Gaza."

The Defense Minister said, "In the absence of such an alternative, only two negative options remain: Hamas’ rule in Gaza, or Israeli military rule in Gaza."

He then stressed, "I must reiterate - I will not agree to the establishment of Israeli military rule in Gaza. Israel must not establish civilian rule in Gaza."

Netanyahu later responded to Gallant and said, "I am not ready to replace Hamastan with Fatahstan. The first condition for the day after is to eliminate Hamas and do it without excuses."

Gallant's remarks were condemned by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who said, "The people of Israel are not willing to be humiliated. The people of Israel are not ready to be led into the Oslo 2 process, which will lead Israel to another disaster. The people of Israel will not agree to hand over Gaza to the control of the Palestinian Terrorist Authority."

"The people of Israel know that Israel's security will only be achieved by determination to win, and not by relying on promises of peace from the vile terrorists and their various organizations," said Minister Levin.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also condemned Gallant's remarks, accusing the Defense Minister of announcing "his support for the establishment of a Palestinian terrorist state as a reward for terrorism and Hamas."