TEL AVIV: Palestinians will govern the Gaza Strip after the war with Israel ends, Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday.
"Palestinians live in Gaza and therefore Palestinians will govern it in the future. The future Gaza government must grow out of the Gaza Strip," Gallant said at a press conference.
"At the end of the war there won't be a military threat from Gaza. Hamas won't be able to rule and function as a military force in the Gaza Strip."
He said the future government would be a "civilian alternative" but insisted that Israeli forces would have the "freedom of operation" in a way aimed at protecting Israeli citizens.
Hamas, the Islamist movement which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, entered into a war with Israel when its fighters broke through the Palestinian territory's militarised border with Israel and attacked southern Israeli communities on October 7.
The attack resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on the latest Israeli figures.
Israel's retaliatory offensive since then has killed more than 24,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.