Sunday, June 23, 2024

US preparing for ‘prominent’ role in post-war Gaza: Report

The United States wants a “prominent” role in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s military operation in the Palestinian enclave ends, Politico has reported. Washington expects a joint Palestinian-Arab force of several thousand troops to take charge of security in the blockaded territory after the current conflict.

Politico reported details of discussions within the administration of US President Joe Biden about what a post-war settlement should look like, citing four officials and a leaked document from the Department of State.

The US reportedly wants to retain a “civilian adviser” to any future security force, likely based in Egypt or Jordan. American forces, however, would “never enter Gaza itself” in order to avoid the impression that Washington was “dictating the future of the territory”.

A classified document from March envisioned an American filling the role of a “director-general” of the future security mission, according to the outlet. Under that proposal, the force would consist of roughly 2,000 Palestinians and 1,000 troops from Arab-speaking nations. It would be commanded by an officer from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, or “ideally” Egypt.

The timeline for the implementation of Washington’s plans are unclear, according to a US intelligence assessment described by Politico earlier this week. The document said Israel had managed to reduce the strength of Hamas forces by up to 35% since the group’s attack on Israel last October. However, it has recruited thousands of new fighters in recent months, a source in the intelligence community told Politico.

The Pentagon’s widely reported efforts to deliver humanitarian aid via a floating pier have been undermined by logistical and security issues. No food reached starving Palestinians between last Friday and Tuesday of this week, spokesman Pat Ryder told reporters, blaming the delay on local NGOs that were tasked with distributing the aid.

The US has refused to work with the United Nations Refugee Agency, a prominent provider of humanitarian aid in Gaza, after Israel accused some of its employees of involvement in the October 7 attack. Last month, the UN announced it had closed or suspended its probes into the allegations because Israel had failed to provide any evidence substantiating its claims.

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