Antony Blinken
Antony BlinkenREUTERS/Remo Casilli

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a joint press conference on Wednesday with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, discussed plans for the day after Israel's war in Gaza.

"We’ve been very clear that when it comes to the future of Gaza, we do not support and will not support an Israeli reoccupation. We also, of course, do not support Hamas governance in Gaza. We know and have seen where that’s led all too many times for the people of Gaza and for Israel. And we also can’t have anarchy and a vacuum that’s likely to be filled by chaos. That only underscores the imperative of having a clear, concrete plan for the day after the conflict in Gaza – in terms of governance, in terms of security, in terms of rebuilding Gaza for its people. And here it would be important for Israel to focus on that as well," Blinken stated.

He noted that "we have been doing a lot of work on this, as I mentioned the other day, with partners in the Arab world and beyond over several months. But it’s imperative that Israel also do this work and focus on what the future can and must be. Because again, it cannot – and says it does not want responsibility for Gaza. We cannot have Hamas controlling Gaza; we can’t have chaos and anarchy in Gaza. So there needs to be a clear, concrete plan, and we look to Israel to come forward with its ideas."

Earlier the US Secretary of State discussed the current humanitarian situation amid Israel's limited operation in Rafah. "One of the deep concerns that we have is the impact of this limited operation that we’ve seen to date in Rafah on the ability to provide humanitarian assistance. Because the two main points of access in the south – Rafah itself, and Kerem Shalom – have been affected by the resulting conflict in the south. And we’ve seen – at the very time when Israel was taking important and much-needed steps to improve the provision of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza – we’ve seen a negative impact on the fact that we have this very active conflict in the Rafah area. We also see Hamas firing at the crossings themselves, making it also more difficult."

Blinken added: "So in and of itself we have this urgent problem of restoring the full operational capacity of Rafah and of Kerem Shalom to make sure that assistance gets in. Now, we’re also seeing real progress in the north where more is coming through. But what we don’t want to see is a situation where we’ve basically reversed what’s happened recent months – where assistance was working its way through in the south but very little was getting to the north – to have that reversed – and have improvements in the north that are much needed and need to continue but then to see steps backward in the south."