WASHINGTON — “The Gaza Strip must be handed over to the Palestinian Authority following hostilities,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a Group of Seven meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday.
“The solution in Gaza must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority,” added Blinken.
Asked about Blinken’s comments, Eylon Levy, spokesman for Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, said at a Wednesday press briefing that while Israel is having “fruitful conversations with its international partners,” it is “premature” to discuss the post-conflict environment.
“Talking about the day-after [Hamas] scenarios at the moment is like discussing the Marshall Plan before the Battle of Stalingrad,” he said.
“We’re exploring several contingencies together with our international partners for what the day after will look like—a common denominator of course being that the Gaza Strip must be demilitarized. It must never again become the terror nest that has seen tens of thousands of rockets launched at us in recent years and, of course, the death squads that emerged on Oct. 7,” added Levy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an interview with journalists on Tuesday, said Israel would need to control the security situation in Gaza for an “indefinite period.”
“Because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it,” said the prime minister. “When we don’t have that security responsibility what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn’t imagine,” he continued.
The U.S. appeared concerned by Netanyahu’s remarks. State Department spokesman Vedant Patel, asked about the future of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, said, “Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land.”
At a press conference on the sidelines of the G7 meeting on Wednesday, Blinken, while conceding that “there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict,” stressed, “it is imperative that the Palestinian people be central to governance in Gaza and the West Bank.”
“The U.S. opposes any “forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza. Not now, not after the war. … No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza,” said Blinken while responding to reporters.
Responding to a question about the displacement of Palestinians, Levy said Israel is directing Gaza civilians south to get them out of harm’s way.
“It is regrettable that some people are choosing to spin Israel’s compliance with its obligations under international law to accuse Israel of trying to displace those civilians,” he said.
After Israel has defeated Hamas, those people will be allowed to return, he added.
While Israel is reluctant to discuss its post-war plans, the U.S. continues to push for a two-state solution as the best prospect for a lasting solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“The U.S. is committed to working toward the realization of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” said Blinken during a meeting with P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday.
The State Department tweeted on Nov. 4 that it views the two-state solution as “the only viable path.”
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
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