Netanyahu’s post-war plan for Gaza gets cool US reception

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says Washington had been “consistently clear with our Israeli counterparts” about what was needed in post-war Gaza, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his plan to the security cabinet and later released it to the public overnight in Israel.

“The Palestinian people should have a voice and a vote… through a revitalized Palestinian Authority,” he says, pushing the US position for a reformed PA to take over the governance of Gaza. Netanyahu has rejected the idea repeatedly.

His post-war plan is based on principles broadly accepted by the public and his office said the document will serve as the basis for future discussions regarding the post-war management of Gaza. It calls to install “local officials” unaffiliated with terrorists to administer services in the Strip instead of Hamas, for Egyptian cooperation to end smuggling into Gaza, for Arab countries to fund reconstruction of the Strip and for no role for UNRWA. It also calls for Gaza to be demilitarized and for its population to be “de-radicalized.”

The plan lays out that the IDF would have “indefinite freedom” to operate throughout Gaza to prevent any resurgence of terror activity. It states that Israel will move forward with its already-in-motion project to establish a security buffer zone on the Palestinian side of the Strip’s border, adding that it will remain in place “as long as there is a security need for it.”

This plan is directly at odds with one of the Biden administration’s own principles for post-war Gaza, which states that there will be no reduction in the enclave’s territory.

Kirby says this afternoon in a press briefing that the US doesn’t “believe in a reduction of the size of Gaza… we don’t want to see any forcible displacement of Palestinians outside Gaza and, of course, we don’t want to see Gaza dominated or ruled or governed over by Hamas.”

Asked about the plan during a visit to Argentina, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he would “reserve judgement” until seeing all the details, but that Washington was against any “reoccupation” of Gaza after the war.

“Gaza… cannot be a platform for terrorism. There should be no Israeli reoccupation of Gaza. The size of Gaza territory should not be reduced,” Blinken says in Buenos Aires.

Netanyahu’s plan was swiftly rejected by the Palestinian Authority.

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