The White House on Tuesday repeated its opposition to an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir he believed Israel will oversee Gaza's security for "an indefinite period."

On Monday, Netanyahu, in his first U.S. media interview since the conflict erupted following the deadly Hamas terror attack on Oct. 7, was asked by Muir who should control Gaza when the conflict ends.

The prime minister said he thinks Israel will have "overall security responsibility" over Gaza for an "indefinite period." President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has warned against Israel reoccupying Gaza and is pressing for a two-state solution with the Palestinian Authority taking control.


Did the U.S. administration give an official reason as to why it opposes an Israel occupation of Gaza? Is it because they fear an escalation of the conflict if Israel were to reoccupy Gaza, and did they give an official explanation of their position? Because it seems to me that after meeting with Arab countries they are trying hard to avoid an escalation of the conflict in the region, which might force the U.S. to intervene.

  • The Economist newspaper had an article analyzing possible long term options for Gaza after the war a while ago. In summary, all options are bad. A permanent Israeli occupation is bad because it is undemocratic, very unpopular with Gaza population and hugely expensive for Israel.
    – quarague
    Nov 8, 2023 at 7:13
  • 1
    Because it worked so "well" the last time (i.e. pre-2005)? TBH I'm starting to find these Q: "did X explain why the sky is blue, no, I mean in his own words" rather irritating. Nov 8, 2023 at 7:43
  • And they may not be very public about this, but the more the IDF sits in Gaza, the more points Putin scores nytimes.com/2023/10/26/opinion/putin-russia-gaza-israel.html Nov 8, 2023 at 9:00
  • I suspect part of it is not so much with any deep reasons (yet), as it is to avoid being seen as to closely aligned with Israel. i.e. There may very well be no immediate reason, in the absence of concrete Israeli plans, besides PR. And also to give the US more leverage in negotiations w. Israel after these operations. Nov 8, 2023 at 23:53

2 Answers 2


AFAIK, not super directly, but...

“We are losing badly on the messaging battlespace,” reads a Wednesday cable from the US Embassy in Oman, citing conversations with “a wide range of trusted and sober-minded contacts.”

The robust US support for Israel’s actions is being seen, the cable warns, “as material and moral culpability in what they consider to be possible war crimes.” [...]

Another cable obtained by CNN from the American embassy in Cairo relayed back to Washington, as part of a daily media summary, the commentary in a state-run Egyptian newspaper that “President Biden’s cruelty and disregard for Palestinians exceeded all previous US presidents.”

So, being seen as endorsing an Israeli occupation is probably not what the US wants, given their tanking ratings in the Arab world.

And, of course, there's the sad history of the pre-2005 occupation of Gaza that US officials probably don't really want to recount in much detail, right now, so keeping the messaging at the "obviously no" level is probably their media strategy in this regard.

BTW, as I see some of that needs recounting, a 2014 article says:

The Second Intifada included riots, large-scale clashes, bus bombings and other acts of terrorism against Israelis, Israeli targeted killings against Palestinians, and perhaps most costly of all large-scale Israeli military assaults. This is when Israeli deaths hit their peak, with 283 killed in a five-month run from February through June of 2002. [...] This [2002] is the closest that Israeli and Palestinian deaths have gotten to symmetrical, and still more than twice as many Palestinians were killed than Israelis.

That is when Israel, fed up with the violence of the Second Intifada, responded in part by dramatically increasing the size and number of walls separating Israeli from Palestinian territory. [...] Both of these actions did a lot to remove Israelis from harm's way, which you can see reflected in the dramatic — and sustained — reduction in Israeli deaths. [...] These two Israeli changes — installing more walls and withdrawing from Gaza — have also done their share to perpetuate the conflict.

So, yeah, pacification would have to be much more complete for an occupation to truly succeed. Western countries haven't exactly been successful in doing this either in other Muslim countries: Iraq [not exactly occupied anymore, but still sees rocket attacks against US forces, etc.], Afghanistan [pullout after the Taliban dominated the countryside], etc. So the West doesn't have a lot of positive occupation experiences to share with Israel in this regard either, even if they can help with expertise derived from smashing ISIS in Mosul etc.

  • Weren’t ordinary Gaza citizens better off pre 2005? My understanding is that Israel has built a lot of infrastructure in the area and things were relatively stable. Nov 10, 2023 at 13:34
  • 1
    @JonathanReez: mkay, maybe Trump should messaging that: "the big, beautiful occupation when everyone was so happy. Make Israel great again!" Nov 10, 2023 at 13:41
  • 1
    P.S.: Also applies to Russia's occupation of anything, because we know Putin is a very smart guy. Only Chinas sux because it wants to occupy the big, beautiful Taiwan. Nov 10, 2023 at 13:52
  • 2
    @JonathanReez That's a real nice way of saying Israel colonizing Palestine is for their own good. Reminds me of something called imperialism ...
    – sfxedit
    Nov 10, 2023 at 14:29
  • 1
    I’m in the camp of thought where the only thing that matters is the income and physical comfort of the average citizen. I do realize this is not a popular viewpoint. Nov 10, 2023 at 14:32

It is a step back in terms of the two-state solution, which is the internationally accepted way towards resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict (although in the last 30 years it failed to produce the desired result.)

Israel transferred significant parts of Gaza and West Bank under Palestinian self-control following the Oslo Accords in 1993, and unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 (including dismantling the settlements.)

enter image description here
Historical handshake between Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) and Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat (right) at the White House in 1993. American president Bill Clinton is in the middle. image source

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .