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Turning Wadi Gaza into an Armistice Line: Israel's Best-case Scenario.

Israeli and American policymakers began crafting detailed plans for postwar Gaza immediately after Hamas's October 7 massacres. These plans shared the flawed assumption that following an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation Hamas would no longer control Gaza's territory. However, Washington is currently pressuring Israel to wrap up its ground offensive by early January. Since the IDF cannot even fully dislodge Hamas from northern Gaza before that deadline, Jerusalem's best-case scenario now entails confining Hamas's remit to southern Gaza while designating its north a closed military zone.

Already on October 8, Chuck Freilich, an Israeli former deputy national security adviser, published an article addressing "what happens on the day after we topple Hamas." Defense Minister Yoav Gallant outlined Israel's war objectives before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on October 20. Destroying Hamas's military infrastructure constituted his strategy's "first phase." White House spokesperson John Kirby soon thereafter raised the possibility of multinational peacekeepers policing a post-Hamas Gaza.

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