update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu: Israel has White House’s ‘full backing’ despite disputes

"Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan," the Israeli prime minister said in a video statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in New York, Sept. 20. 2023. Credit: Cameron Smith/Official White House photo.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in New York, Sept. 20. 2023. Credit: Cameron Smith/Official White House photo.

Despite differences of opinion, U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration fully support Israel’s goal of destroying the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

“I greatly appreciate the American support for destroying Hamas and returning our hostages,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.

“Following an intensive dialogue with President Biden and his team, we received full backing for the ground incursion and blocking the international pressure to stop the war,” he continued.

“Yes, there is disagreement about ‘the day after Hamas’ and I hope that we will reach agreement here as well,” stated the premier, vowing not to repeat the “mistake” of the Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993 and 1995.

“After the great sacrifice of our civilians and our soldiers, I will not allow the entry into Gaza of those who educate for terrorism, support terrorism and finance terrorism,” Netanyahu said.

“Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan,” he added, referring to the Fatah faction controlled by P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday said he would discuss “timetables” for ending “high-intensity operations” in the Gaza Strip with Netanyahu when he visits Jerusalem later this week.

“The subject of how they are seeing the timetable of this war will certainly be on the agenda for my meetings,” Sullivan said during a forum hosted by The Wall Street Journal.

“It doesn’t have to be that you go from that to literally nothing in terms of putting pressure on going after Hamas targets, Hamas leadership, or continuing to have tools in your toolbox to try to secure the release of hostages,” added the official. “It just means that you move to a different phase from the kind of high-intensity operations that we see today.”

Sullivan said he would also speak to Netanyahu about his recent comments that Israel will maintain security control over Gaza after defeating Hamas.

“I will have the opportunity to talk to Prime Minister Netanyahu about what exactly he has in mind with that comment, because that can be interpreted in a number of different ways,” Sullivan stated, adding that “the U.S. position on this is clear.”

During a stormy discussion in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee on Monday, Netanyahu said there is no way the Palestinian Authority will be allowed to rule Gaza in a post-Hamas reality. “Oslo was the mother of all sins,” said the Israeli prime minister. “The difference between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is only that Hamas wants to destroy us here and now, and the P.A. wants to do it in stages.”

“We cooperate with them against Hamas when it serves their interest and ours up to a certain limit,” he added. “We decided a few months ago that we don’t want them to collapse so that Hamas does not rise up in Judea and Samaria as well.”

Netanyahu’s firm stance against a P.A.-controlled Gaza Strip is at odds with Washington, which has taken the position that the Palestinian Authority is the best alternative.

Early last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Gaza must be handed over to the Palestinian Authority at the end of hostilities. The solution “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the P.A.,” he stated.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said that Washington seeks to back a Palestinian Authority that “has the support of all Palestinians, so that they can effectively help with post-conflict governance, particularly in Gaza.”

According to a recent survey, 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas. Only about 8.5% said they favor an authority controlled exclusively by Fatah.

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