With the Israel-Hamas war lingering into its seventh week, the State Department was pressed Monday on how the Biden administration envisions the conflict ending and what precisely comes next.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the Palestinian people must be front and center of any decision-making process, with the ultimate goal being the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
“We want to see the establishment of a Palestinian state that unites the West Bank and unites Gaza so the Palestinian people can determine their own future,” Miller said. “And that is the policy we support. It’s the policy that we will try to achieve.”
Miller said such decisions should be imposed on the Palestinian people – neither by the United States nor Israel.
A reporter pressed Miller on his comments, noting that they appeared to be at odds with Prime Minister Netanyahu who said the Israeli military will retain security control in Gaza and remain there indefinitely.
“Ultimately, at the end of the conflict, there is going to have to be a larger conversation with the government of Israel, with the Palestinian people and with the other countries in the region about what the path forward is,” Miller said.
“We’re very clear about what that path cannot be on the one hand – a return to Hamas governance in Gaza and having a safe haven from which to launch terrorist attacks from Israel. You’ve heard from Hamas leaders, even in the last week say they want to launch a series of October 7 again and again and again.”
Hamas, an Iranian-backed terrorist group, invaded Israel on October 7. More than 1,300 Israelis were killed in the attack, with thousands more wounded and many taken hostage by Hamas, and raped, tortured, and murdered.
Hamas was voted into power by the Palestinian people in 2007 and quickly began a draconian reign of terror. In the 16 years since, Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip with an iron fist, seeking to impose sharia law on the population.
Hamas is internationally recognized as a terror organization by Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and many other countries.