Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has voiced open frustration at the government’s failure to address the question of a post-war plan for Gaza.

In a rare public sign of divisions over the direction of the military campaign within Israel’s war cabinet, Mr Gallant urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare publicly that Israel has no plans to take over civilian and military rule in Gaza.

“Since October, I have been raising this issue consistently in the Cabinet,” he said, “and have received no response.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded harshly, saying he was “not ready to exchange Hamastan for Fatahstan,” in reference to rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.

Indecision, he warned, would leave only two bad options in Gaza: Hamas rule or Israeli military rule.

Either “would erode our military achievements, lessen the pressure on Hamas and sabotage chances of achieving a framework for the release of hostages,” Mr Gallant said.

Another member of the war cabinet, Benny Gantz – who has disagreed with Netanyahu in the past – agreed with the defence minister: “Gallant speaks the truth. It is the leadership’s responsibility to do the right thing for the country at all costs.”

Mr Gallant said that the defence establishment, over which he presides, had presented a war plan to the cabinet as early as the night when Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza began last October. He said the plans included proposals “to establish a local, non-hostile Palestinian governing alternative.”

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