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29 Mar, 2024 09:58

Pentagon offers to fund ‘peacekeeping force’ in Gaza – Politico

Israel is reportedly standing in the way of discussions on post-war planning in the Palestinian enclave
Pentagon offers to fund ‘peacekeeping force’ in Gaza – Politico

The US has offered funding to partners in the Middle East for a peacekeeping force in Gaza, which would police the Palestinian enclave after the hostilities with Israel are over, Politico reported on Thursday.

Gaza has been left devastated after five months of Israeli bombardment and siege, and according to aid groups is on the brink of famine. West Jerusalem is seeking to obliterate Palestinian armed group Hamas, which staged an incursion from the enclave into southern Israel in October, killing around 1,200 people and capturing scores of hostages. Over 32,600 people have been killed in Gaza since, according to Palestinian health officials.

While it remains unclear when the fighting in Gaza will end, the US has been engaging regional partners to discuss how the situation might look the “day after” the war. Washington has offered to pay for a “peacekeeping force” that would not include US soldiers and could be led by Palestinians, four official sources, including two from the Pentagon, told Politico.

Arab nations want a clear commitment to a Palestinian state as part of the resolution, the outlet noted. It added that Israel is “reluctant to have these conversations” until it defeats Hamas – a goal that skeptics say may be impossible to achieve. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed not to allow the creation of a Palestinian state.

“Israel is the long pole in the tent,” an anonymous military official told Politico. “It would be one thing if the [US] administration and the Israeli government were aligned on the way ahead, but that is just not the case.”

The rift between Washington and the Jewish state has become increasingly evident. Earlier this week, the US allowed a resolution urging for an immediate ceasefire to pass at the UN Security Council. Washington abstained in the vote, unlike during numerous previous attempts, when it vetoed proposed documents with the same wording.

Earlier in March, US Senate leader Chuck Schumer said in the chamber that Netanyahu “has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel.” The remark was rebuked by Israel and the Republican Congressional leadership, although President Joe Biden said his key ally had delivered “a good speech.”