Israel may not demolish Jewish settlements after the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip planned for later this year.

The head of Israel's National Security Council, Giora Eiland, recommended not destroying the homes because it would prolong the pullout, increase the cost and create a mountain of garbage.

Palestinians may want to have the mostly single-family settler homes demolished to make room for high-rise buildings, as there is a severe housing shortage in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

Israel originally proposed last year destroying the evacuated homes in all 21 Gaza settlements to prevent Palestinian militants from living in them. The Israeli government is expected to discuss the issue further in the coming weeks.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.