Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country's leadership of ignoring his repeated requests to discuss a replacement for Hamas rule in Gaza, setting off a political firestorm that could threaten Netanyahu's hold on power. In a live broadcast on Wednesday, Gallant delivered the harshest rebuke yet of Israel's war strategy in Gaza from within the three-man war cabinet, stating that he has been raising the issue consistently since October but has received no response.

The debate over the "day after" in Gaza erupted when Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari was asked at a news conference whether Israeli troops had been sent to retake areas of Gaza they had retreated from because there were no governing alternatives to Hamas. Hagari responded that a replacement for Hamas would pressure the militant group, but that it was a question for Israel's political leaders.

Netanyahu, in a video released by his office, said that discussions about a "day-after" strategy are meaningless until Hamas is defeated and that some of Israel's efforts to replace Hamas are covert. However, Gallant appeared to refute these claims, stating that no efforts were being made to establish an alternative to Hamas in Gaza and calling on Netanyahu to declare that Israel would not establish civil or military rule in Gaza for the long term.

"The 'day after Hamas' will only be achieved with Palestinian entities taking control of Gaza, accompanied by international actors, establishing a governing alternative to Hamas' rule," Gallant said. "Unfortunately, the plan was not brought for discussion, and worse, an alternative discussion was not raised in its place."

Gallant's statement has drawn criticism from hard-right members of Netanyahu's governing coalition, with some calling for the defense minister to be replaced. However, according to Nadav Eyal, a senior writer for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Netanyahu is reluctant to fire Gallant during the ongoing war, fearing the potential consequences and the possibility of another dramatic night of protests in the streets of Israel.

The debate over Gaza's future has also exposed divisions among members of the war cabinet at a critical time. Benny Gantz, another war cabinet member, came out in support of Gallant, saying he spoke the truth and that it was the leadership's responsibility to do the right thing for the country at all costs.

Meanwhile, with Netanyahu failing to articulate a clear plan for replacing Hamas rule, several thousand Israeli settlers and their supporters, including senior ministers in Netanyahu's government, rallied on Tuesday for Israel to build Jewish settlements atop the ruins of Gaza's destroyed cities and to encourage Palestinians to emigrate. The rally took place next to the Gaza border in the city of Sderot, as large pillars of smoke rose across the border in Gaza.

Netanyahu has said that Israel does not intend to reoccupy Gaza for the long term or to resettle it, but he has also resisted U.S. calls for Gaza to be governed by a revitalized Palestinian Authority, a more moderate Palestinian leadership. This stance has led to increasingly public friction between Israel and the United States, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently chiding Israel for the lack of a plan in some of his strongest public criticism.

As the Israeli military continues its no-limits offensive on Gaza, sending 600,000 people fleeing from southern Rafah, the pressure is growing from critics at home and allies abroad to present a plan for governance, security, and rebuilding. The disagreements over Gaza's future have exposed deepening divisions among members of the war cabinet and presage a potential fracture in the relationship between the United States and Israel.