הפגנות הפגנה התפרעויות מהומות גבול רצועת עזה
Protests in Gaza
Photo: AFP
PM Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief Aviv Kochavi and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett

IDF pushing for thousands of Gazans to work in Israel

Analysis: Bringing workers from the Hamas-run coastal enclave into Israeli territory will potentially force the terror group into a period of calm while giving in to opposition from the right and the Shin Bet could trigger another dangerous engagement

Yoav Zitun |
Published: 01.03.20 , 18:37
Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi made a dramatic announcement on Wednesday, in which he declared his support for the plan to offer Gaza's citizens certain relief in return for calm in southern Israel.
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  • The plan, which Kochavi refers to as "government policy," would see thousands of Gaza citizens enter Israel for employment purposes, and is nothing less than a breakthrough since it deals with a subject that was considered taboo in Israel ever since the doors to Gaza were locked 13 years ago.
    PM Netanyahu, General Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, and Minister of Defense Naftali BennettPM Netanyahu, General Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, and Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett
    PM Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief Aviv Kochavi and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: Ariel Harmony/Defense Ministry)
    Bringing workers from Gaza into Israeli territory is a step which was publicly sanctioned by the IDF and will potentially be endorsed by new Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who tends to adopt the classic "carrot and stick" method, which proved itself when it successfully prevented a third intifada four years ago.
    According to this method, civil and economic relief will be given to the people of Gaza as long as calm persists, but if Hamas instigates an attack on Israeli soil for any reason, it will be the people of Gaza who will pay the price - which will be high, uncompromising and extremely severe.
    הפגנות הפגנה התפרעויות מהומות גבול רצועת עזההפגנות הפגנה התפרעויות מהומות גבול רצועת עזה
    Protests in Gaza
    (Photo: AFP)
    Israel hopes that this will cause the people of Gaza to rein in Hamas with demands for calm, effectively forcing the group or any other instigators in the Strip to adhere to the people's wishes.
    Quietly and effectively, Israel has increased the number of Gaza merchants and workers allowed to enter its territory.
    As further proof for the progress being made in Gaza, Hamas officially announced on Thursday that it will dramatically decrease the number of protests in the Strip.
    The plan is not without its hurdles though. The Shin Bet domestic security service is vehemently opposed to the idea of letting anymore Gazans into Israeli territory, fearing that some of those granted entry will work either operate on behalf of Hamas or turn into lone wolf terrorists, gathering intelligence or going on sporadic killing sprees while inside Israel.
    Protests in Gaza Protests in Gaza
    Protests in Gaza
    (Photo: AFP)
    The Shin Bet is also concerned Hamas will use this opportunity to make contact with terror groups located in the West Bank, groups that are thirsty for money and guidance from the Hamas leadership.
    Furthermore, Israel's powerful right-wing political bloc fears that agreeing to let in more Palestinians from Gaza would result in public criticism that would hamper its chances of success in the March 2 elections.
    Such fears could result in the next elected prime minister abolishing the idea, causing further deterioration in the relationship with Hamas, resulting in another unwanted engagement.
    Either way, the IDF is bent on seeing its idea through, even if it's only so that it can focus on their central objective - denying Iran the opportunity to establish itself in Syria, while denying its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah the chance to get its hand on advanced weaponry.
    First published: 18:37 , 01.03.20
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