National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday outlined the United States’ position on the future of Gaza, saying the United States believes the core principles of the future include “no reoccupation of Gaza” and “no forced displacement of the Palestinian people”.
Asked by CBS News “Face the Nation” anchor Margaret Brennan about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to a Palestinian Authority-led government in Gaza that appears “not on the same page” than the Biden administration, Sullivan said Secretary of State Antony Blinken has laid out “the basic principles of the path forward.”
“No reoccupation of Gaza, no forced displacement of the Palestinian people. Gaza can never be used as a base for terrorism in the future and the territory of Gaza should not be reduced,” Sullivan continued.
Blinken’s comments were part of a joint statement by Group of Seven diplomats last week, in which he reiterated that the Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank government, should take control.
“Secretary Blinken also said that ultimately we want to see the reconnection, the reunification of control between the West Bank and Gaza under Palestinian leadership,” Sullivan said. “The Palestinian Authority is the current leadership in the West Bank. But ultimately it will be up to the Palestinian people to decide their future, who will govern them, and the United States will support a process…”
Brennan intervened to point out that Gaza has not held elections in “ages”; Sullivan agreed.
Netanyahu said Saturday that Israel would retain “overall control of security” in Gaza “including the ability to enter whenever we want to eliminate terrorists who may re-emerge.”
Fighting has raged for more than a month since Hamas, a US-designated terrorist group, launched a bloody incursion into Israel on October 7 that left around 1,200 people dead, most of them civilians.
“But after October. “We cannot return to the situation of October 6. And that includes ensuring that Hamas cannot pose a continued threat to Israel,” Sullivan said.
Israel quickly responded with a bombardment of Gaza, including hundreds of airstrikes, shelling and a siege of basic goods. Israeli forces have vowed to destroy Hamas and recently launched a ground invasion of Gaza City in the northern part of the region.
More than 11,070 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began last month, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.
Concerns have been raised in recent days over an “indefinite” period of Israeli military control over Gaza after the war, with some fearing a new occupation could destabilize the Middle East.
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