US warns Israel against reoccupying Gaza after war on Hamas

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a long-standing and complex issue that has drawn international attention and concern for decades. Recent events, including a war on Hamas, have once again pushed this conflict to the forefront of global politics. In the wake of the conflict, the United States issued a strong warning to Israel against reoccupying Gaza. This move carries significant implications for the region and international relations.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a protracted dispute over territory, borders, and the rights and self-determination of the Palestinian people. It dates back to the late 19th century but became particularly heated following World War II when the State of Israel was established in 1948. The territorial disputes and competing national aspirations have since given rise to numerous conflicts, including wars and intifadas (Palestinian uprisings).

Gaza, a small strip of land on the eastern Mediterranean coast, has been the focal point of this conflict. It’s governed by the Palestinian political and militant group Hamas and is subject to an Israeli blockade, resulting in severe humanitarian challenges.

The latest chapter in this ongoing conflict began with a military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, which lasted for several weeks. The conflict erupted due to a combination of factors, including longstanding grievances, a dispute over access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and tensions over the forced eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. The conflict led to significant loss of life and destruction, both in Gaza and Israel.

In response to rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel launched airstrikes and a ground offensive into the territory, aiming to weaken Hamas’s military capabilities. The conflict ended with a ceasefire brokered by Egypt and mediated by the United Nations in May 2021. However, the underlying issues and grievances remain unresolved.

Following the ceasefire, the United States, under the Biden administration, issued a stern warning to Israel against reoccupying Gaza. The warning reflected concerns that a reoccupation of Gaza would not only escalate the conflict but also have severe humanitarian and political consequences.

The United States has historically been a staunch ally of Israel, providing military aid and support. However, in this case, it appeared to adopt a more cautious approach, recognizing the potential for further destabilization in the region. The warning was also seen as an attempt to encourage a longer-lasting and more comprehensive peace process.

The US has warned Israel against reoccupying Gaza after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that Tel Aviv will “have the overall security responsibility” in Gaza “for an indefinite period” once the war is over.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on “CNN This Morning” on Tuesday, November 7, 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.”

It was one of the first hints Netanyahu has given about his vision for a post-war Gaza and suggests a divergent view from that of the US, including US President Joe Biden’s own statements about what the future of the strip would look like.

In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” last month, Biden 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.

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.

Asked about Netanyahu’s comments on ABC News on Monday that Israel will have the “overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an “indefinite period” after the war ends, Regev said:

“We have to distinguish between a security presence and political control.”

“When this is over and we have defeated Hamas, it is crucial that there won’t be a resurgent terrorist element, a resurgent Hamas. There is no point doing this and just going back to square one,” Regev told CNN.

“There will have to be an Israeli security presence, but that doesn’t mean Israel is re-occupying Gaza; that doesn’t mean that Israel is there to govern the Gazans.

“On the contrary, we are interested in establishing new frameworks where the Gazans can rule themselves and where there can be international support for the reconstruction of Gaza. Hopefully, we can bring in countries—Arab countries as well—for a reconstruction of a demilitarized, post-Hamas Gaza,” he said.

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