On Tuesday November 7th, the United States White House announced that it would oppose Israel’s occupation of Gaza at the end of the conflict. White House national security spokesperson John Kirby explains this, saying that while the United States and Israel are allies, they do not have to agree on all issues.
This announcement comes after Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would take control of Gaza after the end of the war, and would control Gaza’s security for an “indefinite period.” He said, “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.”
Kirby told reporters that US President Joe Biden believes that “a reoccupation by Israeli forces of Gaza is not the right thing to do.” Kirby also said that, “there needs to be a healthy set of conversations about what post-conflict Gaza looks like and what governance looks like…What we absolutely agree with our Israeli counterparts on is what it can’t look like, and it can’t look like it looked on October 6.”
Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif al-Qanou said that, “What Kirby said about the future of Gaza after Hamas is a fantasy…Our people are symbiotic with the resistance, and only they will decide their future.”
Ultimately, the U.S.’s announcement of its opposition to Israeli reoccupation is a deviation from its initial stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The U.S. had been supporting its ally Israel throughout the conflict.
Israel has occupied Gaza as well as other Palestinian territories since the 1967 war. Israeli forces since have had complete control over Gaza’s borders, waters, and airspace, even though they had formally removed its forces and settlers in 2005. The White House’s announcement follows the Israeli offensive against the armed group Hamas which occurred last month. Hamas had previously carried out attacks on southern Israel, resulting in the death of 1,400 people and the capture of another 230, according to Israeli officials. In response, Israel mounted attacks on Gaza, killing upwards 10,328 people—including 4,237 children, according to Palestinian health authorities. This led to increasing international tensions, where Israel wants Hamas to release hostages first, whereas Hamas says it will not stop fighting as long as Gaza is under attack. As Israel continues to siege Palestine, more injustices against the Palestinian people occur—Israel has been restricting Gaza’ access to food and water, and have been cutting off electricity and fuel to those trapped within the borders.
In conclusion, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has proven to be a highly important and polarizing international issue. As this conflict continues to escalate, more and more lives will be lost. With the U.S. announcing its opposition to Israeli reoccupation, this comes a little closer to acknowledging and stopping the injustices currently happening to Palestinians.
- White House announces that it would oppose Israel’s reoccupation of Gaza - November 19, 2023