Israel insists Hamas rule in Gaza must end in any truce deal

Weeks of intense fighting between Israel and Palestinian factions has engulfed the region, with Hamas firing hundreds of rockets into Israel and the Israeli military mounting heavy airstrikes on Gaza.

Israeli Minister Yoav Gallant has reiterated his government’s firm stance that any potential resolution to ongoing fighting with Palestinian militant groups must see an end to Hamas’s governing control of the Gaza Strip.

In a call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, Gallant restated [Israel’s] commitment to dismantling Hamas as a governing and military authority in the framework of any deal to wind down the Gaza war, according to a statement from the minister’s office.

Gallant also said he discussed with Blinken the issue of identifying and enabling the emergence of a local, governing alternative to replacing Hamas. This Islamist armed group has ruled the Gaza coastal enclave since 2007.

The comments underscore Israel’s hardline position toward Hamas, which it designates as a terrorist organization along with most Western nations. Weeks of intense fighting between Israel and Palestinian factions has engulfed the region, with Hamas firing hundreds of rockets into Israel and the Israeli military mounting heavy airstrikes on Gaza.

Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to achieve a durable ceasefire, with each side accusing the other of obstructing the path to restoring calm.

Israel has repeatedly stated it will not accept any arrangement allowing Hamas to remain in power and rebuild its arsenal targeting Israeli cities. At the same time, ousting the deeply entrenched group by force could prove enormously difficult without reoccupying Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas has limited influence in Gaza after the violent split from Hamas. Israel could seek international support for placing Gaza under a temporary U.N. administration if Hamas was dislodged.

However, Hamas leaders have repeatedly insisted they will never willingly cede control of Gaza, setting the stage for what could be prolonged and bloody urban warfare if Israel opts for a ground invasion of the densely populated territory.

Gallant’s latest comments suggest Israel’s caretaker government is hardening its stance ahead of upcoming elections, making the path to any negotiated Gaza solution increasingly difficult in the near term.