(NationalUSNews.com) — According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel does not plan on occupying Gaza following the conclusion of the Israel-Hamas war. Netanyahu’s statement comes just days after he claimed Israel needs to provide long-term security responsibilities for Gaza, indicating a continued presence of Israeli forces in the region following the war’s conclusion.
Israel is currently bombarding the largest hospital in Gaza, which also serves as a wartime shelter for approximately 50,000 people. According to Palestinian officials, Israel’s bombardment has killed 22 people in just three days and is likely to continue. Among the targets Israel struck are four different Gaza hospitals, including the region’s largest medical facility, and a school, all of which are currently shelters for civilians.
Israel’s decision to target hospitals is prompting world leaders, like France’s President Emmanuel Macron, to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. Despite the calls for a ceasefire, Israeli officials are defending the strikes against hospitals, claiming that Hamas forces are using hospitals and schools as command centers. Israel is allowing humanitarian aid into the country, but according to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Gaza requires more humanitarian aid.
Blinken also spoke about the potential occupation of Gaza by Israel, claiming that the United States doesn’t condone the continued presence of Israeli forces following the war’s conclusion. Blinken clarified that Israel should control the territory for a limited time after the conflict’s resolution, but the United States seeks a “two-state” compromise that establishes both Israel and Palestine-controlled territories.
Blinken also said that Hamas cannot remain in the area once the war ends and that other terrorist groups must be monitored to prevent a similar conflict. According to Blinken, an ideal resolution to the conflict will establish a peaceful government in Palestine. While Blinken issued a warning about a potential occupation, he confirmed that there hasn’t been any official attempt by Israel to control the territory.
Netanyahu’s statements regarding Israel providing security to Gaza for an “indefinite” period sparked widespread criticism from other government officials, who felt the statement indicated a desire to annex Gaza by Israeli forces. Netanyahu quickly clarified his statement and confirmed that Israel doesn’t intend to remain in Gaza beyond providing security responsibilities for the war-torn country following the war’s conclusion.
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