Blinken: Postwar Gaza should have no Israeli occupation or blockade

In a press conference following the meeting of the G7 in Tokyo, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken lays out what the US envisions for a post-war future in Gaza, urging Israel not to reoccupy Gaza but admitting there may be a “transition period.”

“The only way to ensure this never happens again is to set the conditions for durable peace and security,” he says.

Blinken lists the elements the US says is needed to make that a reality: “No forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, not now, not after the war. No use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks. No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempts to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza. We must also ensure no terrorist threats emerge from the West Bank,” he says.

It appears to be the first time that a US official had publicly made these points after long avoiding any criticism of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which Jerusalem says is necessary to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the Strip. Human rights groups say the policy has stymied the enclave’s economy significantly.

The call for Israel not to take over Gaza territory after the war also flies in the face of comments by Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who have insisted that the IDF will have to establish some sort of buffer zone within the Strip to better secure the border.

Blinken says what the Strip must have is “Palestinian governance, Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority… a sustained mechanism for reconstruction in Gaza, and a pathway” to a two-state solution, he adds.

Asked about comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israeli assuming security responsibility in Gaza indefinitely, Blinken allows that “there may be a need for some transition period.”

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