Blinken: Israel needs to think about ‘what could follow’ in terms of Gaza sovereignty

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 12, 2023. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Israel should be devising a strategy for who will rule Gaza after the IDF completes its mission of toppling Hamas.

“There are different ideas out there about what could follow, but all of that needs to be worked and it’s something that needs to be worked even as Israel is dealing with the current threat,” Blinken tells NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

This appears to be the first time that Washington is publicly urging Israel to think about its “day after” strategy, after US President Joe Biden and other administration officials have privately been pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his aides to come up with one in order to avoid making the same mistakes that the US made after 9/11, which led to it being bogged down in Mideast wars for years.

Asked what Israel’s strategy is for who will govern Gaza after the war is over, Blinken tells “Meet the Press,” “We can’t go back to the status quo. They can’t go back to the status quo, with Hamas being in a position in terms of its governance of Gaza to repeat what it did… At the same time, what I’ve heard from the Israelis — is absolutely no intent, no desire to be running Gaza themselves.”

“So, something needs to be found that ensures that Hamas can’t do this again, but that also doesn’t revert to Israeli governance of Gaza, which they do not want and do not intend to do,” the secretary says.

Blinken tells CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the US also continues to work to evacuate US citizens who are trying to leave Gaza but that “Hamas has blocked them from leaving, showing, once again, its total disregard for civilians of any kind who are stuck in Gaza.”

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