Publish date30 Mar 2024 - 11:26
Story Code : 629920

Pentagon mulling plans for Gaza peacekeeping force: Report

The Pentagon is in initial discussions about the deployment of a peacekeeping force in Gaza where Israel's ongoing war has wrought mass destruction, death and displacement, and shows no signs of ending anytime soon. 
Pentagon mulling plans for Gaza peacekeeping force: Report

The Defense Department's planning does not currently include plans for any US troops to be deployed to Gaza, but is instead looking at the prospects for a multinational or Palestinian peacekeeping mission, the Politico news website reported Thursday, citing four anonymous officials, including two from the Pentagon.
A senior Biden administration official acknowledged the talks, but declined to address specifics, saying instead, “we are working with partners on various scenarios for interim governance and security structures in Gaza once the crisis recedes."
“We’ve had a number of conversations with both the Israelis and our partners about key elements for the day after in Gaza when the time is right," the official said.
One of the Pentagon officials who spoke to Politico acknowledged that any plans for port-war Gaza will inevitably need Israel as a fundamental player in the talks, but is currently focused on executing its war.
“Israel is the long pole in the tent,” one of the Defense officials said, adding that Israel “has their hands full with other things” at the moment. “It would be one thing if the administration and the Israeli government were aligned on the way ahead, but that is just not the case."
The talks extend beyond the Pentagon, and also include the White House and State Department, as well as foreign governments, the four officials told Politico.
Initial planning includes the Defense Department funding the foreign security force, according to two of the officials. Another official said the money could also be used for reconstruction, humanitarian aid and other needs.
Much of Gaza has been destroyed since Israel began its war in October with videos posted on social media showing Israeli forces wantonly destroying buildings and entire blocks with explosives, and burning residential properties, sometimes joking grimly as they do so.
It remains unclear who would train and equip the Palestinian force if that is the route that will ultimately be taken.
Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed nearly 1,200 people, and resulted in about 250 more being taken back to the coastal enclave as hostages.
Nearly 32,500 Palestinians have since been killed and 74,900 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.
The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.
Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which asked Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza on Thursday. It warned that “Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine ... but that famine is setting in.”
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