Tokyo, Nov 8 (EFE).- United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Israel cannot re-occupy Gaza or displace residents of the besieged Palestinian enclave relentlessly bombed by the Israeli military for the past month.
“The United States believes key elements (for peace) should include no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, not now, not after the war,” Blinken told reporters after the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations met in Japan.
He emphasized that after the war between the Islamist Hamas group and Israel, the strip should not be used as “a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks,” and there should be “no reoccupation of Gaza.”
“No attempt to blockade and seize Gaza; there is no reduction in the territory of Gaza. We must also ensure that no terrorist threats can emanate from the West Bank.”
Blinken’s statements came after G7 foreign ministers called for a humanitarian pause in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza to facilitate safe corridors for humanitarian assistance to the Gazans.
The conflict in the Middle East escalated after militants from the Islamist Hamas group infiltrated Israel, killed over 1,400 people, and held more than 240 Israelis as hostages in Gaza.
The Israeli military retaliated and launched a massive military offensive that involved relentless aerial strikes, killing more than 10,500 Palestinians, most children, women, and the elderly.
As the aerial bombing continued, the Israeli military launched a ground offensive. It encircled Gaza City amid a tight blockade that sparked an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and caused an acute shortage of food, drinking water, fuel, and medical supplies.
Gazan hospitals have been struggling to treat nearly 25,000 injured people who sustained wounds in the Israeli strikes.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News that Gaza should be governed by “those who don’t want to continue the way of Hamas.”
“I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, have the overall security responsibility (of Gaza) because we have seen what happens when we do not have it,” Netanyahu said.
But Blinken seemed to disagree, though not fully.
“We have been very clear from Day 1 that when it comes to post-conflict governance in Gaza, a few things are necessary. Gaza cannot continue to be run by Hamas. That invites repetition of Oct. 7,” the top American diplomat said in Tokyo. “It is also clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza.”
However, he noted that there might be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict, for which the timeline and the mechanism needed to be put in place.
“It is imperative that Palestinian people be central to governance in Gaza and the West Bank as well. And again, we do not see reoccupation,” he said.
Blinken said that he had heard from Israeli leaders that they had “no intent to re-occupy Gaza and re-take full control of Gaza.”
He said the US “fully” agreed with Israel that there should be “no going back to Oct. 6 before the barbaric attacks by Hamas.”
“As we work with Israel to ensure this, we are also working in the region to deter broader threats to our partners and our friends.”
He said the G7 countries were united because “all of us want to end this conflict as soon as possible and, to minimize civilian suffering.” EFE