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Israel considers a long-term development plan for the Gaza Strip

Israel considers a long-term development plan for the Gaza Strip The Ambassador of Israel to the United States, Michael Herzog (photo:

Israel is considering a long-term development plan for the Gaza Strip and is discussing this issue with the United States, states Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog.

"It is our position that Palestinians will have to govern themselves. What will be the exact role of the Palestinian Authority (PA) remains to be seen, because everybody understands that the PA, in its current composition — they can hardly govern Ramallah. So certainly not Gaza," he said.

According to Herzog, the Palestinian Authority needs to be reformed.

He also added that Israel is not interested in occupying or governing Gaza, emphasizing that the main priority is ensuring security.

"We are not in Gaza in order to occupy Gaza or to govern Gaza. We are there to move the Hamas military threat against Israel and their ability to rebuild the capabilities and strike again and again, as they're saying they would like to do. That's our intent," Herzog said.

He noted that Israel conducts operations in Gaza "very purposefully."

"People have to understand Gaza is the biggest terror complex around the globe with over 500 kilometers (about 310 miles) of terror tunnels. … We are not targeting the population," emphasized the ambassador.

Israel-Hamas war

At the beginning of October, Hamas militants launched a large-scale invasion into Israel, killing and kidnapping both military and civilian residents. In response, Israel declared a military operation against the militants called "Operation Iron Swords."

As part of this operation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) expanded its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, deploying troops and equipment to the region.

According to the IDF, Hamas lost control of the northern part of the Gaza Strip as tens of thousands of people moved to the southern side.