Biden won’t permit Israel to carve out ‘buffer zone’ in Gaza or ‘reoccupy’ it

Senior Biden administration official pushes back on Israeli proposal to create a buffer zone in a future demilitarized Gaza Strip.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

The Biden administration pushed back Wednesday on an Israeli proposal to carve out a buffer zone in the Gaza Strip, once the current war with Hamas is over.

According to a report by Reuters earlier this week, Israel informed a number of Middle Eastern states that Jerusalem is drawing up plans for a possible buffer zone on the Gaza side of the Israel-Gaza frontier.

“Israel wants this buffer zone between Gaza and Israel from the north to the south to prevent any Hamas or other [terrorists] from infiltrating or attacking Israel,” an Egyptian source cited in the report said.

The Muslim states notified of Israel’s plans reportedly expressed their distaste with the idea.

On Wednesday, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the Biden administration would also not back such a move.

Speaking with reporters at a press briefing, Miller reiterated comments by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the Biden White House will not accept territorial reductions in the Gaza Strip.

“There must be no reduction in the size of Gaza, and that remains our position and it will remain our position. So if any proposed buffer zone was inside Gaza, that would be a violation of that principle, and it’s something that we oppose.”

“If it’s with respect to something in Israeli territory, I won’t speak to that. That’s a decision for the Israelis to make, but we are very clear that when it comes to reduction in the size of Gaza, that is not something the United States supports.”

Miller also said that the Biden White House will not accept the “reoccupation” of Gaza by Israel, though a temporary Israeli presence in the Strip after the war would be tolerated.

“With respect to a transition period… we understand that there will have to be some kind of transition period after the end of major combat operations.”

“I don’t think it would be in anyone’s interests – not Israel’s interest, it wouldn’t be in the Palestinian people’s interest – for at the end of major combat operations for Israel to just leave and leave a security vacuum in place where there could be rampant lawlessness inside Gaza and innocent civilians exploited.”

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“So we understand there will need to be some transition period at the end of combat operations.”

“One of the positions we have also made clear is that there can no reoccupation of Gaza.”