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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel will not support a Palestinian Authority-led government in Gaza following its conflict with Hamas, countering the stance of the United States.
Netanyahu’s statement on Saturday comes in response to US insistence, particularly from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that Israel should not reoccupy Gaza and instead allow the Palestinian Authority to govern post-conflict. Netanyahu said, “Israel will retain ‘overall security control’ in Gaza ‘including the capacity to go in whenever we want to eliminate terrorists who may pop up again.”
Netanyahu added that his opposition to an authority that “rewards violence” or fails to condemn attacks on Israelis. This stance has caused unease in Washington, with fears that prolonged Israeli military control over Gaza could further destabilize the Middle East. Despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 1996, some argue that the occupation effectively continues due to border controls.
While President Biden has expressed support for an independent Palestinian government and state, Netanyahu has not proposed an alternative governance model for Gaza post-war, insisting on Israel’s need for security control. His comments indicate a potential strain in U.S.-Israeli relations over this issue. Currently, the Israeli military is engaged in a ground invasion of northern Gaza, with the conflict resulting in significant Palestinian casualties, including a high number of children, as reported by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.