Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. believes there should be “no reoccupation of Gaza” after the Israel-Hamas war despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting that his country will likely control the territory’s security for an “indefinite period.”
Blinken, speaking Wednesday following a Group of Seven meeting in Tokyo, told reporters, “Ultimately, the only way to ensure that this crisis never happens again, is to begin setting the conditions for durable peace and security and to frame our diplomatic efforts.
“Now, with that in mind, 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 hence, no attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza. We must also ensure no terrorist threats can emanate from the West Bank.”
Blinked added he has heard from Israeli leaders that “they have no intent to reoccupy Gaza and retake control of that” but “the only question is, is there some transition period that might be necessary, and what might be the mechanisms that you could put in place for that, to make sure that there is security.”
The remarks come after Netanyahu said Israel will likely control Gaza’s security for an “indefinite period” following the end of its war on Hamas.
Netanyahu made the comments in an interview with ABC published late Monday night.
“I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, will have the overall security responsibility because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it,” Netanyahu said. “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.”
The prime minister went on to reiterate that Israel would not consider a cease-fire in Gaza until all of Hamas’ hostages have been freed.
Blinken also said Wednesday that to reach a “sustained peace” in the region, there must be “Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations at the center for post-crisis governance in Gaza.
“It must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority and it must include a sustained mechanism for reconstruction in Gaza, and a pathway to Israelis and Palestinians living side by side and states of their own, with equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity and dignity,” Blinken said.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.