Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said that it’s “clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza,” but “there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict” with Hamas.
Blinken made the statement during a news conference following the G-7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Tokyo, in response to comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.
In an interview with ABC News, Netanyahu said he expects that Israel would take “overall security responsibility” in Gaza indefinitely after its war with Hamas has ended.
By contrast, Blinken said Wednesday that he had heard from Israeli officials who told him that “they have no intent to reoccupy Gaza and retain control of Gaza.”
He did concede, though, that “the only way to ensure that this crisis never happens again” is for the global community to set conditions for “durable peace and security.”
He then laid out what he said the United States considered “key elements” that should be included in those conditions, such as no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks, no reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends, and no reduction in size nor blockades in the territory of Gaza.
“It is imperative that Palestinian people be central to the governance in Gaza, and in the West Bank as well, and that again, we don’t see a reoccupation,” Blinken said.