November 11, 2023 | Flash Brief

War Goal Is Destruction of Hamas, Not Gaza Occupation Says Israel

November 11, 2023 | Flash Brief

War Goal Is Destruction of Hamas, Not Gaza Occupation Says Israel

Latest Developments

When asked to describe post-war Gaza, “Hamas will be gone. We’ll destroy Hamas,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on November 9. He added, “What we have to see is Gaza demilitarized, deradicalized and rebuilt.” The United States has similarly emphasized that a post-war Gaza must not include Hamas. U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on November 7 that “we are definitely having conversations” about postwar governance in Gaza and that “Hamas can’t be part of that equation.”

Since Hamas provoked a war with Israel on October 7, key Arab governments have stepped forward to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. Whether they would play a similar role in a post-war Gaza remains unclear.

Expert Analysis

“The Israelis don’t want to occupy Gaza or govern Gaza. Of that I’m confident. But neither can the Israelis tolerate future attacks from Gazan terrorists. Of that I’m equally confident. Is it possible to create a new architecture in which Israelis are no longer threatened by Gazan terrorists and in which Gazans who want to rebuild their lives following the war Hamas initiated can do so? Yes, but that will require strenuous diplomatic efforts, understanding that the United Nations cannot be considered an honest broker, that the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas is woefully incompetent, and that Iran’s rulers will play the role of spoilers in every way they can. Arab states that value peace and stability — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example — will almost certainly have to be part of the solution.” — Clifford D. May, FDD Founder and President

“If the Biden administration wants to avoid an Israeli occupation of Gaza, it should start working right now to find Arab partners who can help Gaza transition to self-sufficiency once the war ends. The PA under Mahmoud Abbas can’t handle the job on its own. It’s corrupt and autocratic and can barely maintain control of the West Bank. Helping rebuild Gaza will require cooperating with Israel. Can Washington persuade Arab governments that’s the best way to help Palestinians?” — David Adesnik, FDD Senior Fellow and Director of Research

A Potential Role for Arab States in Gaza’s Reconstruction

Egypt, which has been critical of Israel in the wake of Hamas’s massacre, agreed on October 31 to let injured Gazans enter Egypt through the Rafah crossing to receive treatment. The United Arab Emirates, which has generally been more supportive of Israel, has also pitched in: Abu Dhabi is building an 150-bed field hospital in Gaza that will include a range of departments, such as general surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, gynecology, anesthesia, and intensive care units. An Emirati plane landed in Egypt on November 6 loaded with equipment and supplies for the Gaza field hospital.

Jordan, which has called for a ceasefire and recalled its ambassador from Israel, coordinated with Israeli forces to airdrop urgent medical equipment to an already established Jordanian field hospital in the Gaza Strip.

Saudi Arabia Raises Aid for Gaza

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, announced a fundraiser for Gaza on November 2. Within hours, Riyadh raised over $17 million. A spokesperson for the campaign said that Saudi Arabia “has always been at the forefront of aiding Palestinian people.” Saudi Arabia’s commitment to Palestinians during the war suggests that the kingdom could also play a constructive role ensuring the viability of post-Hamas Gaza, but Riyadh has not openly discussed its plans.

Blinken Probes Abbas on PA Role for Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

UAE Building Field Hospital in the Gaza Strip,” FDD Flash Brief

Arab World has Opportunity to Take Responsibility for Gaza’s Future after Hamas Attacks,” by David Adesnik


Arab Politics Egypt Gulf States Israel Israel at War Jordan