‘Israel cannot occupy Gaza’: US forcefully pushes back on Netanyahu’s post-war plans
Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Washington: The US has forcefully pushed back against suggestions that Israel may seek to reoccupy the Gaza Strip once the war with Hamas is over, in the latest sign of the deepening tensions between the two allies over how the conflict is being handled.
After Israel Prime Benjamin Netanyahu declared his country would need to oversee “overall security” in Gaza for an “indefinite period” when the battle ended to prevent future attacks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected this idea as he gave his clearest vision yet of how America wanted to ensure the future safety and security of the territory.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.Credit: AP
Speaking after a Group of Seven meeting of foreign ministers in Tokyo, Blinken said it was clear that “Gaza cannot continue to be run by Hamas” but that “it’s also clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza.”
“The United States believes key elements should include no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza – not now, not after the war,” he said.
“No use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks. No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza.”
The Secretary of State’s comments came after Netanyahu’s declaration earlier this week that Israel could assume responsibility for Gaza’s security “for an indefinite period”.
Palestinians evacuate families from their homes after an Israeli airstrike in Jabalia refugee camp on Sunday.Credit: AP
This set off alarm bells for the Biden administration, which is seeking a two-state solution and has long been nervous about Israel suggesting an open-ended occupation of the territory.
The solution, Blinken said, should “include the Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations at the centre of post-crisis governance in Gaza. It must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”
But implementing such a post-conflict vision would be difficult in view of factors such as the unpopularity of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and the opposition within the Netanyahu government to establishing a Palestinian state.
US Representative Rashida Tlaib.Credit: Bloomberg
Divisions over the war have also deepened in Washington, where the sole Palestinian-American in the US Congress has been formally censored by her Democrat colleagues for making inflammatory comments about Israel.
After a fiery debate, Rashida Talib was formally rebuked on Tuesday night, when 22 Democrats joined Republicans to pass a resolution accusing her of “promoting false narratives” about the October 7 attack and “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel”.
Tlaib has been an ardent critic of the Israel government for years, and proudly displays the Palestinian flag outside her office door.
But the progressive Democrat angered the White House and her party colleagues when she put out a video over the weekend accusing President Joe Biden over being complicit in genocide interspersed with images of the dead and injured in Gaza, along with pro-Palestinian protests across the US.
The most controversial part of the video was an embrace of the phrase “from the river to the sea” – which many Jews view as an anti-sematic rallying cry that calls for the eradication of Israel – before ending with the warning: “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people. The American people won’t forget.”
Republicans immediately moved to censor Tlaib – a process that amounts to a public rebuke, one step from expulsion in the Congress.
And despite Tlaib insisting that her comments were merely a reflection of the Israeli government, not the Israeli people, the resolution passed with 234 votes to 188.
“Congresswoman Tlaib has repeatedly insisted on using inflammatory language that dangerously amplifies Hamas propaganda and disinformation,” said Illinois Democrat Brad Schneider, who was one of the 22 Democrats who sided with Republicans on the vote.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.Credit: Reuters
“I recognise this censure resolution is not a perfect resolution in its language or form, but unfortunately it is the only vehicle available to formally rebuke the dangerous disinformation and aspersions that Representative Tlaib continues to use and defend.”
While a censure motion is largely symbolic, it nonetheless underscores the widening chasm in Washington over the way Israel is carrying out the war as the push for a ceasefire intensifies.
More coverage of the Hamas-Israel conflict
- Cascading violence: Tremors from the Hamas attacks and Israel’s response have reached far beyond the border. But what would all-out war in the Middle East look like?
- The human cost: Hamas’ massacre in Israel has traumatised – and hardened – survivors. And in Gaza, neighbourhoods have become ghost cities.
- “Hamas metro”: Inside the labyrinthine network of underground tunnels, which the Palestinian militant group has commanded beneath war-ravaged Gaza for 16 years. The covert corridors have long provided essential channels for the movement of weapons and armed combatants.
- What is Hezbollah?: As fears of the conflict expanding beyond Israel and Hamas steadily rise, all eyes are on the militant group and political party that controls southern Lebanon and has been designated internationally as a terrorist group. How did it form and what does Iran have to do with it?
Most Viewed in World
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article