Report: Israel, U.S. Discuss Expelling Hamas Members From Gaza

By Yoni Weiss

A convoy of IDF tanks near the Israel-Gaza border, Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli and U.S. officials have explored the possibility of expelling lower-level Hamas members from Gaza as a potential measure to shorten the conflict between Israel and the group, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The discussions also revolve around governing Gaza post-war to prevent Hamas or similar groups from regaining power.

One proposed strategy, devised by the IDF’s think tank and shared with The Wall Street Journal, involves establishing “Hamas-free safe zones” under a new Gaza-based authority supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The intention behind potentially expelling Hamas members and their families is to offer them an exit strategy, easing Gaza’s reconstruction after the conflict. However, this plan does not involve high-ranking Hamas leaders like Yahya Sinwar or Mohammed Deif, who Israeli officials claim are marked for targeting.

Comparisons were drawn with a 1982 deal that saw Yasser Arafat and thousands of Palestinian terrorists leave Lebanon for Tunisia after a siege. However, Israeli officials expressed uncertainty about whether Hamas members would accept such an offer, describing the organization as less rational and more ideologically connected to Iran than the PLO.

Currently, Israeli sources note that there’s no active consideration for the expulsion of Hamas members, although it might be an option if no other viable choices emerge. Additionally, another proposal under IDF scrutiny involves establishing a “Gaza Restoration Authority” backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, aimed at rebuilding a Gaza free from Hamas influence.

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