The United States said Tuesday it opposed a new long-term occupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed “overall security” of the territory following the war.
“Our viewpoint is that Palestinians must be at the forefront of these decisions and Gaza is Palestinian land and it will remain Palestinian land,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.
“Generally speaking, we do not support the reoccupation of Gaza and neither does Israel,” he said.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, which it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, in 2005. It later imposed a blockade after Hamas militants seized control of the territory.
Patel said that the United States agreed “there is no returning to the October 6 status quo,” referring to the day before a massive attack by Hamas.
“Israel and the region must be secure and Gaza should and can no longer be a base from which to launch terror attacks against the people of Israel or anyone else,” Patel said.
Netanyahu, in an interview Monday with ABC News, said that Israel would assume “overall security” over Gaza “for an indefinite period” after the war, which is now entering its second month.
The Israeli military has relentlessly bombarded Gaza and is scaling up ground operations in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas militants, who killed 1,400 people in Israel, most of them civilians, and seized around 240 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.
The Hamas-run health ministry has said the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,300 people, also mostly civilians.