Washington: The White House cautioned Israel on Tuesday against reoccupying Gaza after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that Tel Aviv can consider to “have the overall security responsibility” in Gaza “for an indefinite period” once the war is over, the New York Times reported.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on “CNN This Morning” that “the president still believes that a reoccupation of Gaza by Israeli forces is not good. It’s not good for Israel; it’s not good for the Israeli people.”
“One of the conversations that Secretary (Antony) Blinken has been having in the region is what does post-conflict Gaza look like? What does governance look like in Gaza? Because whatever it is, it can’t be what it was on October 6. It can’t be Hamas,” Kirby added.
The words of caution came after Netanyahu said Israel would need to oversee the security of the Gaza Strip once the fighting is over to prevent future attacks.
The White House’s latest warning comes after Netanyahu told ABC News on Monday that Gaza should be governed by “those who don’t want to continue the way of Hamas” before adding, “I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it.”
Biden in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” last month said it would be a “big mistake” for Israel to occupy Gaza. At the time, Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Israel does not intend to occupy Gaza after the conflict ends.
Other sharp gaps have been emerging between the US and Israel as the war continues, as per CNN.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week pushed the Israelis for a “humanitarian pause” to allow hostages and civilians to leave Gaza and for aid for Palestinians to enter, but was rebuked by Netanyahu.
Despite Blinken’s forceful public message that “civilians should not suffer the consequences for (Hamas’) inhumanity and its brutality,” Israeli forces continued to strike civilian sites in the wake of the top US diplomat’s visit. The forces claimed that the sites were being used by Hamas.
Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Israeli PM Netanyahu, Mark Regev, on Tuesday told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that Israel’s post-war plan is not an “ongoing occupation” of Gaza.