'The world needs to know': Grant Shapps urges Israel to reveal plan for Gaza after war with Hamas ends

19 May 2024, 10:55

Grant Shapps has said the world needs to know Israel's plans for Gaza
Grant Shapps has said the world needs to know Israel's plans for Gaza. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Grant Shapps has said the world "needs to know" Israel's plan for Gaza after the war against Hamas ends.

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The Defence Secretary told LBC's Lewis Goodall that there "has to be some hope for the future" for Gaza, after Israel's Benny Gantz threatened to quit the country's war cabinet unless Benjamin Netanyahu changed course.

Seven months into the war, Israel continues to battle Hamas. Its other objective - recovering the hostages taken by the terrorist group on October 7 - is also incomplete.

According to the Hamas-run health ministry, 35,000 people have died in Gaza during the war, although these figures are disputed.

Mr Shapps said on Sunday: "The world does need to know, Gaza needs to know, the Israeli population needs to know, what is the plan for the day after?

Read more: 'No father would want to hear this': Shani Louk's family speak out after Nova festival victim's body discovered in Gaza

Read more: Gaza ceasefire possible 'tomorrow' if Hamas frees hostages, says Joe Biden

Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps. Picture: Alamy

"Because otherwise, you're you essentially in a battle here against Hamas terrorists - and we respect the fact that Israel has a right to defend itself and was brutally attacked - but you've got to have some hope for the future.

"And you've got to know that Israel doesn't plan to remain there.

"And actually, I think there's a wider plan, which in the end, could involve getting to normalisation in terms of relations with other countries in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia, which could bring a greater peace to the region, if this can be put if the pieces can be put in place. So yes, of course, it's right to have a plan for afterwards."

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz. Picture: Getty

Mr Gantz has set out a six point plan for his prime minister that includes returning the hostages, ending the Hamas regime, establishing a Gaza civilian administration and demilitarising the territory.

He said he would quit the government if it did not adopt the plan by June 8.

The departure of Mr Gantz, a centrist, could leave Mr Netanyahu more beholden to elements on the right wing of his government.

Mr Gantz also wants to normalise relations with Saudi Arabia, which was said to be on the cards before the war began.

He warned Mr Netanyahu: "If you choose the path of fanatics and lead the entire nation to the abyss - we will be forced to quit the government."

Mr Netanyahu has vowed to both eliminate Hamas and bring all the hostages back.

But he has also faced warnings from the US that it will scale back its support over the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Israel's campaign in Gaza since the attack has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

'You and the media are not getting it', Palestinian Ambassador tells Lewis Goodall

It comes after the bodies of four Israelis taken by Hamas on October 7 were recovered by the IDF.

The remains of Ron Benjamin, 53, were found on Saturday.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Mr Benjamin was "brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Mefalsim Intersection, and his body was kidnapped to Gaza".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: Alamy

On Friday, troops also discovered Shani Louk, Itzhak Gelerenter and Amit Buskila.

Mr Netanyahu called the deaths "heartbreaking", saying: "We will return all of our hostages, both the living and the dead."

Footage of German-Israeli Ms Louk, 22, being paraded about on the back of a truck was widely circulated on social media after she was kidnapped.

In a statement following the announcement, her father, Nissim Louk, said: "No father would want to hear this news.

"We knew that she was murdered. Today the army officers came to our house and told us the news.

"They showed us pictures of Shani who still looked great."

He added: "Her happy life was cut short. She was a special person."