Blinken says no reoccupation of Gaza, but suggests an Israeli-run 'transition period'

AFP , Ahram Online , Wednesday 8 Nov 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday called on Israel not to reoccupy Gaza once the war comes to an end but later modified his quotes by suggesting the possibility of an Israeli-run "transition period” in Gaza.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference after attending a session of the Group of 7 Foreign Ministers meetings in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023. AP


Speaking to reporters after G7 foreign ministers held talks in Japan, Blinken listed what he said were "key elements" in order to create "durable peace and security."

"The United States believes key elements should include: no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, not now, not after the war; no use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks; no reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends," Blinken told reporters.

He added that other conditions included no "attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza" or any "reduction in the territory of Gaza."

However, Reuters carried an additional quote from Blinken, in which the US secretary of state modified earlier comments, by suggesting that Israel might run the Gaza Strip for a "transition period."

"Now, the reality is that there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict... We do not see a reoccupation and what I have heard from Israeli leaders is that they have no intent to reoccupy Gaza," he said as reported by Reuters.

On Tuesday, White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby also told reporters that the United States would oppose a reoccupation of Gaza by Israel's military.

Kirby told reporters that Israel and the United States are friends and do not have to agree on every single issue.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Monday that Israel will take control of "overall security" of besieged Gaza after the war.

"Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility," Netanyahu told ABC News.

On the other hand, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said that Israel has no desire to impose a civilian administration on Gaza after the war is over.

Once Hamas is toppled, he said, Israel seeks to turn over responsibility for governing the Palestinian strip to "an international coalition, including the US, the European Union and Muslim majority countries, or to local political leaders in Gaza," Cohen told Wall Street Journal.

Reuters reported this month, that diplomats in Washington, the United Nations, and beyond have started weighing the options for the “day after” if Hamas is ousted - and the challenges they see ahead are daunting.

Discussions include the deployment of a multinational force to post-conflict Gaza, an interim Palestinian-led administration that would exclude Hamas politicians, a stopgap security and governance role for neighboring Arab states, and temporary UN supervision of the territory, according to a source familiar with the matter.


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