Reoccupation of Gaza Indefinitely by Israeli Forces Not Good: White House

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The White House has reiterated that President Joe Biden expressed serious concerns about the prospect of Israeli forces reoccupying Gaza. This comes in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assertion that Israel would assume the "overall security responsibility" in the besieged enclave indefinitely once the ongoing conflict comes to a close.

Speaking with CNN on Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby conveyed the US stand, emphasizing that President Biden firmly believes that a reoccupation of Gaza by Israeli forces would not be in the best interest of Israel or its people.

"One of the conversations that Secretary (Antony) Blinken has been having in the region is what does post-conflict Gaza look like? What does governance look like in Gaza? Because whatever it is it can't be what it was on October 6. It can't be Hamas."

Israel mounts attacks on Gaza
Israel mounts attacks on Gaza IANS

Kirby's remarks came a day after Netanyahu told ABC News that he believed Israel will have a role to play for an "indefinite period" once and when the raging fighting ends.

"Those who don't want to continue the way of Hamas... It certainly is not -- I think Israel will, for an indefinite period will have the overall security responsibility because we've seen what happens when we don't have it.

Resurgence of Hamas

"When we don't have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn't imagine," he told ABC News.

Last month, Biden had said that it would be a "big mistake" for Israel to occupy Gaza.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the President said that he has not had a chance to speak with Netanyahu but did ask him to consider a humanitarian pause when they spoke on Monday.

Joe Biden

"I didn't get a chance to talk to him today. I did ask him for a pause in the past – yesterday. I'm still waiting to hear from other people," CNN quoted Biden as saying.

Israeli government officials have not commented on how Gaza will be governed if the Hamas militant group is wiped out from the enclave.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel will "retain complete freedom of action to respond to any situation in the Gaza Strip" once the war ends.

"At the end of this 'campaign' Hamas, as a military organisation or governing body in Gaza, will cease to exist," he asserted.

Biden and Netanyahu
Biden and Netanyahu

Speaking to CNN also on Tuesday, Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Netanyahu, said that Israel is "not talking about any sort of ongoing occupation of the Gaza Strip".

"When this is over and we have defeated Hamas, it is crucial that there won't be a resurgent terrorist element, a resurgent Hamas. There is no point doing this and just going back to square one.

There will have to be an Israeli security presence, but that doesn't mean Israel is re-occupying Gaza, that doesn't mean that Israel is there to govern the Gazans," he told CNN.

(With inputs from IANS)