Friday, December 8, 2023

US rules out sending troops to Gaza Strip during or after war

American soldiers will not be deployed to the Gaza Strip during or after the current conflict with Israel, the White House has announced, dismissing reports suggesting US forces could be sent on a peacekeeping mission.

During a Wednesday press briefing, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was asked whether US forces would be used to “stabilize the situation” in Gaza.

“There’s no plans or intentions to put US military troops on the ground in Gaza, now or in the future,” he said, adding, “But we are … talking to our partners about what post-conflict Gaza should look like.”

Kirby went on to say that officials were considering “some sort of international presence” after fighting winds down in Gaza, but noted that no decisions on the issue had been made.

The spokesman’s comments came after Bloomberg reported that Washington and Israel were discussing whether to grant “temporary oversight to Gaza to countries from the region, backed by troops from the US, UK, Germany and France”. The outlet stated that the plans were still in an early stage, however, and said at least two other options were also being considered, including involvement by the United Nations.

While Kirby rejected the idea of a US peacekeeping mission, he echoed previous comments from the White House that Hamas “can’t be the future of governance in Gaza”, voicing support for Israel’s military operation to eliminate the armed group.

Asked about what comes next for the Palestinian enclave, the spokesman stated officials “don’t have all the answers to that”, but insisted “Whatever it is – it can’t be Hamas”.

The latest bout of violence erupted following a deadly Hamas attack on October 7, which claimed the lives of some 1,400 Israelis. Israel has carried out heavy air strikes on Gaza in the weeks since, and subsequently launched ground incursions, killing more than 8,800 Palestinians, according to Gazan officials. The Israeli military has announced its operation could go on for months, despite warnings of a dire humanitarian crisis from international aid groups.

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