WASHINGTON: US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan affirmed on Sunday that the United States will not accept the Israeli reoccupation of Gaza and will continue opposing the forcible displacement of Palestinians from the territory.
Hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at the Israeli military assuming control of the Palestinian territory after the war, Sullivan stated on CBS News, “No reoccupation of Gaza, no forcible displacement of the Palestinian people.”
Explaining the US position, he said, “Gaza can never be used as a base for terrorism in the future, and Gaza’s territory should not be reduced.” Mr Sullivan also outlined a forward path, asserting, “Ultimately, we do want to see the reconnection, the reunification of control between the West Bank and Gaza under Palestinian leadership.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian organisation overseeing the West Bank has informed the Biden administration it could consider running Gaza after the war — if Washington commits to a two-state solution.
In an interview with The New York Times, Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), emphasised that only a “full-fledged two-state solution (can) end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The Palestinian Authority, he said, was seeking “a serious American initiative that would force Israel to abide by it, to commit to it.” The Biden administration, he said, was capable of doing that as it could also persuade Israel to accept the solution.
The Palestinian official, however, said that such a solution “must include an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and a resolution of the status of East Jerusalem.” Mr Netanyahu, however, told reporters on Saturday that Israel would not accept Palestinian authority in Gaza and will retain “overall security control,” including the capacity to go in whenever we want to eliminate “terrorists”.
In his interview with CBS News, Mr Sullivan also expressed concern over rising civilian deaths in Gaza. “We do know there are thousands of innocent civilians who have been killed in the military operations that began after October 7,” he said.
The unprecedented civilian deaths in Israeli military raids have alarmed Washington too. Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in New Delhi that “far too many civilians have been killed” in Gaza.
And last week, a top State Department official testified to Congress that the Gaza health ministry’s estimates of 11,000 Palestinian dead “may, in fact, be an undercount.” In earlier statements, US officials had
dismissed Palestinian statistics as exaggerated.
Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2023