Israel-Hamas War: Details From White House On 4 Hour Daily Humanitarian Pauses In Gaza, How That May Play Out Over Coming Days

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Press Gaggle with NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby: Humanitarian pauses in Gaza, updates, questions

 

Via Teleconference

MODERATOR:  Hey, everyone.  Thank you for your patience and bearing with us while we got through that, but — Kirby has a few words at the top and then we’ll take as many questions as we can.

MR. KIRBY:  Hey.  Good morning, everybody.


Look, as you know, we have been in very active discussions with the Israelis about the importance of tactical humanitarian pauses here to permit civilians to depart areas of active hostilities, to increase the flow of aid, and, of course, to help enable hostage releases.

Today, the Israelis have announced some potentially important steps in this direction.

First, there will now be two humanitarian corridors allowing people to flee the areas of hostilities in the northern part of Gaza.  The first such corridor, open between four and five hours every day for the past few days, has already enabled many thousands of people to reach safer areas in the south, away from the main area of ground operations.

The second route, along the coastal road, will enable many more thousands to reach safer areas in the south.  Of course, we remain concerned that Hamas will discourage or prevent civilians from fleeing.

At the same time, when encouraging people to leave areas of active operations, it’s critical — absolutely vital — that humanitarian supplies and assistance are expanded in the areas where people are moving — in this case, southern Gaza.

Now, there were about 96 trucks two days ago that — that crossed in and 106 trucks yesterday.  We need to see more, and we need to see more soon, with an aim for no less than 150 trucks per day, continuously, every day.  That’s the goal that we — we want to strive for.

We are aware that that — that there will be difficulties, and we all need to be prepared for the fact that there’s going to be days where we don’t make that goal, and hopefully days — more days than not that we do.  But that’s what we’re setting as a goal.

Second, returning to the issue of pauses, we understand that Israel will begin to implement four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza each day, with an announcement to be made three hours beforehand.  Now, we’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause and that this process is starting today.

Now, as we’ve said repeatedly: This is not our military operation.

Israel makes its own decisions.  It’s fighting an enemy that is embedded in the civilian population, using hospitals and civilian infrastructure in an effort to shield itself from accountability and to place the innocent Palestinian people at greater risk.

At the same time, Israel has an obligation to fully comply with international law, and we believe these pauses are a step in the right direction, particularly to help ensure that civilians have an opportunity to reach safer areas away from the active fighting.

The Israelis can provide you with some additional details, but I did want to point to this new development, which has come out of our discussions in recent days with our Israeli counterparts, including the last call that the President had with the Prime Minister on Monday.

And with that, we can take some questions.


MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.  Our first question will go to Steve with Reuters.

Q    Hey there, John.  How — the four-hour pauses — what — what will you be able to do in four hours?  What — what h- — what sort of capability does that give you?

MR. KIRBY:  Well, Steve, I mean, it — it kind of depends on the circumstances each day.

But a four-hour pause, for instance, will allow, potentially, to move humanitarian assistance in to that localized area over that span of time.  It could also provide enough of a window to help people get out of harm’s way, as I said in my opening statement.

If, in fact, we can secure the release of hostages — and we’re still working on that — it could also provide brief windows of opportunity for safe passage for those hostages from where they’re being held to — to safer ground.

So, it — as I said at the beginning, I mean, these are good steps in the right direction — good steps in the right direction for the potential for moving — you know, getting hostages out, getting aid in, getting people out of harm’s way.

And that’s the other thing that I don’t want you to get lost here, is that, you know, we have been urging the Israelis to minimize civilian casualties and to do everything that they can to reduce those numbers.

These pauses can also be an additive effort to that outcome by giving people breathing space for a few hours to move out of harm’s way as — as the Irael- — as the Israelis continue to prosecute operations against Hamas leaders in northern Gaza.

Q    And — and secondly, we see that there’s this meeting in Qatar about the hostages.  Is there anything you can update us on there, John?

MR. KIRBY:  N- — nothing specific, Steve.

I think, you know, we obviously don’t want to negotiate in public here.  We — we’re grateful for the assistance that Qatar has already provided.  We know they have lines of communication with Hamas that we don’t.  And we’re going to continue to work with them and regional partners to try to secure the release of all the hostages.

But I — I don’t have any updates to give you today.

Q    Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Aamer with the AP.

Q    Hey, John.  Do you have any information on how the message of when these three — the three hours ahead of time — how the message will be conveyed to Palestinians that these humanitarian corridors are open?

And then secondly, could you provide us — who’s representing the U.S. in the Paris conference?  And does the administration have any issues with Israel not being invited to take part in this conference?  Thank you.

MR. KIRBY:  So, Aamer, I’d refer you to the Israeli Defense Forces to speak to how they’re going to handle notifications during that three-hour advance window.  I — that’s really for them to speak to.  And then, as far as I understand, we’re going to be represented by — by the State Department.

Q    Anybody specifically you could say that’s —

MR. KIRBY:  Hang on just a second.

So, this will be the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya.

Q    Okay, thank you.  And is there any issue with Israel not being invited to take —

MR. KIRBY:  I meant to — I meant to also add that she’s going to be at — she’ll be joined by David Satterfield, our U.S. Special Envoy for Humanitarian Issues and the Assistant to the Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance Sarah Charles.  So, they — they will also be there.

And, you know, we- — we’re focused on trying to have the most constructive conversation there that we can.  And — and I think I’d leave it at that.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Gavin with Politico.

Q    Hi, everyone.  Thanks for doing this.  I’ve got a question on a different subject here.  The — the U.S. recently withdrew its support from three e-commerce proposals at the World Trade Organization, ostensibly to give more time for domestic policymaking on things like anti-trust for — for big tech companies.

The upshot of that has been that many people expect that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will not include a digital trade chapter because we’ve taken a — we’re trying to give more space for individual countries to do their own policymaking.

I wonder if that’s the expectation going into this final round of IPEF negotiations.

And then I also just wondered if you had a response to Senators Brown and Wyden yesterday — two committee chairs in the Senate — coming out and saying that the U.S. should just — the Biden administration should drop the trade pillar altogether.  They said they didn’t like what was going on there and — and would like to see the trade negotiations suspended.

So, yeah, e-commerce decision and then — and then reaction to the senators, please.  Thank you, guys, so much.

MR. KIRBY:  Well, there’s a lot there.  What I can tell you is that we remain committed to an inclusive and innovative digital economy.  And our administration continues our longstanding support for the trusted free flow of data and an open Internet with strong and effective protections for individual privacy, for measures to preserve governments’ ability to enforce laws and to advance policies in the public interest.

I think in the coming weeks and months, you’re going to see us step up our engagement with stakeholders.  That includes tech companies large and small and — as well as advocates in the privacy, safety, labor, and human rights realm.  And we’re going to work with all those partners to — to move forward in a way that appropriately balances all those objectives.

Now, look, we’re also going to continue to engage vigorously on the WTO’s joint statement initiative on e-commerce.  And, of course, we look forward to working with members of Congress to support the legislative process on privacy and digital regulation.

And I’ll get back to your second — your question about members of Congress there in a second.  But you also asked about IPEF.  And what I would tell you is that we’re working with our partners to make substantial progress on IPEF for this APEC Economic Leaders’ Week this month.

And as I previously noted, we also expect discussions on some IPEF elements will not be completed on this aggressive timeline and thus we expect it to fully be able to continue past November.

And then, just on the Hill, as I sort of alluded to, we’re going to stay in close coordination with members of Congress and their staff members as well as other stakeholders.

But I just don’t have any broad announcement on IPEF beyond that.

Q    And just to be clear, is the White House on board with USTR’s decision at the WTO?  I know that that was a decision Katherine Tai made.  But I — is the White House totally behind that?

MR. KIRBY:  I think, you know, look, this is a very complicated issue.  And it’s one that, as I said at the very beginning, we’re — we are and we have to take very seriously — which means — that mean that there has to be a robust interagency discussion about — about the right way ahead.  And we’ve had that robust discussion.

In fact, we’re going to continue to have that.  And on anything like this, the whole purpose of an interagency discussion is to gather and listen to multiple perspectives.  And not all of them are going to be the same, and that’s why you have an interagency process.

So, we’re working this through the interagency process.  And we think that we’re going to be able to continue to do that going forward.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Nadia.

Q    Hi, Sam.  Good morning, John.  Just to catch up what you said in the beginning.  So, this four-hour pause, how long will it last for?  Are we talking about a week, or you evaluate it as we go along?  And also, can it be extended?  Because as you know, the people are fleeing on foot, so do you think that four hours is enough for civilians to move while they walk into a safer place?

And second, if you allow me, you know that there’s two summits going to take place the next two days in Saudi Arabia.  One is the Arab League and the other is Islamic Summit.  The gap is big between your alliance and your partners and the administration.  They wanted ceasefire; you talk about humanitarian pause.

How can you — what message would you send to them?

And second, the Iranian President is — is attending the Islamic Summit.  Do you think that’s an asset, or do you think that will have some kind of negative effect on the final communiqué that would be issued?

Thank you so much.

MR. KIRBY:  On your first question, we’re glad that this process of these four-hour pauses is starting today.  And I’ll let the Israelis speak to the — the implementation of that and the execution of that.

As we’ve said, we think this is a — these are significant first steps here.  And obviously, we want to see them continue and, certainly, you know, for as long as they’re needed.

But I couldn’t give you a — you know, a calendar in terms of, like, whether they’ll stop or not or for how long.  We — we think this is a good first step — significant steps.  And — and we want to see them continue.

On your second question about the ceasefire, every nation can speak for themselves on this; we’ve spoken loud and clear where we are.  We still don’t believe a ceasefire is appropriate at this time.  It does nothing but — I mean, Hamas benefits from it.  And, frankly, a ceasefire at this time would — would, in all practicality, legitimize what they did on October 7th.  And we simply aren’t going to stand for that at this time.

On the summit, again, we’ll let other nations speak for themselves and their participation.  You asked me do I think — do we think this is a good thing or not.  What we would think would be a good thing —

Q    No, I meant for the Iranian President to attend.

MR. KIRBY:  I know.  I know what you meant.  What we think would be a good thing is for the Iranian President, the Supreme Leader, the IRGC, and the proxy groups that they resource and fund to stop the harassment of — and the attacks on our troops in Iraq and Syria; to stop resourcing Hamas, stop resourcing Hezbollah, stop maritime attacks in the Gulf region, and stop making it easier for Mr. Putin to kill innocent Ukrainians.

That’s what we think would be good for the Iranian president to focus on.

Q    Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question.  We’re going to Yuna with Israel Channel 12.

Q    Hi.  Hi, Kirby.  Hi, everyone.  My question is that we’ve been talking — we’ve been hearing of the talks about a three-day pause, a two-day pause and — for exchange for the hostages to be released.  Is — are these pauses every day are part of a bigger deal?  Is this something that is being discussed?  Where does it stand now?  Because Israel is giving this pauses, is anything going forward with the hostages issue?

MR. KIRBY:  I’m not going to negotiate in public.  We’re continuing to work with our partners in the region to get those hostages out.  We think that pauses can be useful in the safe passage for hostages so- — should a release be secured.

But as I said at the top, they’re also useful for a number of other purposes: to get aid in and get it distributed within a localized area over a discrete period of time as well as helping innocent Palestinians move out of harm’s way.

So, again, these pauses are significant steps forward.  We’re glad to see that the Israeli Defense Forces are willing to take this step and, again, they can — they can serve a multitude of purposes.

Q    Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Neria with Israel Channel 13.

Q    Thank you so much, Kirby, for doing that.  Is the American administration accepting these types of progress from the Israeli side or the pressure is still ongoing for more humanitarian relief?  Because we do know that from the Israeli side, this is a lot to also put the soldiers at risk in the field.

MR. KIRBY:  We’re — as I said, we’re — we’re glad to see that Israel has announced these pauses and their willingness to engage in them.

And — and, again, these are — these are significant steps forward in the right direction, including for the protection of civilians.  And we’re going to continue to talk to our Israeli counterparts about the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

I mean, the — the numbers are moving in the right direction, generally.  Again, we’ve had days where it’s not as good as the day before; I don’t want to overstate it.  But in general, the — the number of trucks is increasing.  And that’s a good thing.

And — and, obviously, we’re going to continue to work with Israel to see if we can continue that flow, to sustain it, to accelerate it, and to increase it, as I said, with our goal of up to 150 trucks.

Q    Thank you so much, Kirby, again, for doing this.

MR. KIRBY:  Yes, ma’am.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Kelly O with NBC.

Q    Hello, there.  Could you describe what you think were the final persuasive factors for Israel to go along with this?  Is it the pressure from the President directly, the wider global community, the grassroots-level protests?  What factors, if any, do you think brought this to a head now?

The President apparently has said that he had hoped there would be more done sooner.  So, could you just shed any light on what you think brought this to a moment where there is an announcement today?

MR. KIRBY:  Well, I certainly won’t speak for the Israelis, Kelly.  But as I said in my opening statement, these — the announcements today of these pauses do come after a lot of engagement by the President — personal engagement by the President with the Prime Minister and engagement at various other levels inside the administration with our counterparts to include, of course, Secretary Blinken, who just completed a another round-robin trip to the region, as well as conversations that — that Jake Sullivan has had with his counterparts, and even Secretary Austin at his level.

So, a lot of — a lot of discussions here on our part to try to — to get these pauses in place.

And again, we’re grateful for the move.  I’ll let the Israelis speak to, you know, their decision-making process.  But I — it is — it is certainly undeniable that — that these decisions have come in the wake of an awful lot of engagement by the administration to try to make sure that humanitarian assistance could get in and people could get out safely.

Q    And is there a way to define the success of this?  Is there a goal for how many people you would like to see out or certain conditions on the ground that would validate that this, in the President’s view, is the right strategy?

MR. KIRBY:  I think, you know, again, you have to look at these pauses in a multi-dimension way that they — they can serve multiple purposes.  So, for instance, in the case of humanitarian assistance, we would like to see pauses continue for as long as humanitarian assistance is needed because it’ll be important to being able to distribute safely food, water, and medicine to people that are in need.

We obviously like to see these pauses be useful in getting all 239 hostages back with their families, to include the less than 10 Americans that we know are being held.

So, if we can get all the hostages out, that’s a nice finite goal.  And the pauses could be helpful for that.

And in terms of the movement of civilians, again, as long as there’s areas of combat, there’s going to be, most likely, innocent civilians, Palestinian people who are going to want to move out of harm’s way.  And those — those pauses will provide windows of opportunity for them to do that.

And so, again, it — that’s really going to be driven by the pace, the scope, the scale, and the locality of combat operations.

So, again, these are — these are important steps forward.
And it’s good to see Israel announce this.  And it’s good on so many different levels, and not the least of which is the potential for reducing civilian casualties.

Q    Appreciate it.  Thank you.

MR. KIRBY:  Yes, ma’am.

Q    Thank you.  Our next question will go to Asma with NPR.

Oops, it looks like she dropped.  Our next question will then go to Nathan with KAN.

Q    Thanks so much.  I’d like to ask, first of all, about the hospitals.  Israel says that it identified the Hamas headquarters and the militants under hospitals in the Gaza Strip.  Does the U.S. have any policy regarding taking military action against the hospitals if there are indeed terrorists there?

And the question about the hostages — do the U.S. have any
policy regarding whether it prefers a deal that would focus only on the American and foreign hostages?  Or is the goal releasing all the hostages as one deal?

MR. KIRBY:  We obviously are very focused — keenly focused on our American citizens that are being held hostage.  I think every nation that has citizens held hostage would tell you the same thing.

But that — but — but, of course, we want to see all the hostages released.  And they, frankly, should be released now.  Hamas shouldn’t have taken them in the first place.  And we shouldn’t legitimize the effort.  They should be released now.

Short of that, we’re going to continue to work with our partners in the region to secure their release — all of them.

But yes, of course, we’re interested — obviously, keenly focused on making sure our Americans can get back to their families.  But — but we recognize that there are many others, and we want them all released.  And we’re going to continue to work to get — to get everybody home where they belong.

Look, on — on hospitals, international law is pretty specific about the need to avoid military operations and particular strikes on — on hospitals.  That’s — that’s pretty clear.

But — but I think it is also important to recognize that, in these cases, Hamas uses hospitals and residential infrastructure to tunnel under — not just a tunnel under, but to actually develop command and control centers and store weapons and ammunition.  And — and they — they hide behind hospitals to do that.

So, that makes — that makes the idea of targeting very, very complicated.  And it — it puts — it — it compli- — it complicates the decision-making process.

But, again, as we’ve made clear: It’s — it’s a horrible thing that Hamas is storing and launching their rockets, you know, from within civilian areas and underneath critical infrastructure — like I said, schools and hospitals — to run these terrorist operations.  And that is a violation of the law of war.  And that creates an additional challenge for the Israeli Defense Forces as they try to distinguish between civilian objects and valid military objectives.

So, I want to just make it clear that the law of war, rules like proportionality and precaution still apply.  They still apply.  And the risks of harm to civilians at sites that Hamas is using for military purpose absolutely have to be considered when planning an attack.

Q    Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Haley with Scripps.

Q    Thank you.  I wanted to put a finer point on the hostage efforts.  Do you believe this agreement with these humanitarian pauses helps intensify or move forward some of the diplomatic efforts you’re having on these fronts?

And then, when we’re talking about the areas of these pauses, I mean, how wide of an area is this?  How large of an area?  Is there any (inaudible) how many civilians might potentially be able to leave in those hours?  Thanks.

MR. KIRBY:  I — I mean, that’s really — the second question is better put to the Israeli Defense Forces.  I mean, they’ll — they’ll be — they’ll be the ones setting up the parameters of these pauses and the localities and — and the purposes for them every day.

We’re glad to see this move.  It’s a — it’s a — as I said, a significant set of steps, significant muscle movements.  But as for the — the details of it, th- — they’re really the best ones to just speak to that.

Q    Thank you.  And then, is there any indication that if this pause helps move forward some of the diplomatic efforts on hostage-recovery efforts?

MR. KIRBY:  I — I’m sorry, can you repeat that again?

Q    Yeah.  With this humanitarian pause, does this help intensify or move forward some of the diplomatic efforts that are taking place on the hostage-recovery efforts?

MR. KIRBY:  Again, I — I want to be careful here that I don’t negotiate in public.

We continue to have active discussions with partners about trying to secure the release of hostages.

And then, as we have said before, humanitarian pauses can be useful in the transfer process, because you want to be able to get them out safely.  And I really think that I need to kind of limit the discussion there.

I — I do understand the — the scope of your question, but I — I think it’s really important for me not to negotiate here in public so that we can have the best chance of success of getting these people out.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Francesca with USA Today.

Q    Hi.  Thanks so much.  What is the White House — what plans — sorry.  What plans are the White House putting in place in case President Biden has to leave the APEC Summit early to avoid a government shutdown?

And I just wanted to know how you think it affects America’s standing in the world that the President may have to cut short an international obligation for a second time this year to negotiate with Congress.  Thanks.

MR. KIRBY:  Well, my goodness, we haven’t even loaded luggage on the plane here.

I mean, we’re — we’re planning on — on going and having a great APEC.

And we’re focused solidly on — on a pretty broad and deep agenda here when it comes to our engagement in the Indo-Pacific, particularly from an economic perspective.

And I won’t speculate or hypothesize about what changes to that agenda might be caused by, you know, budgetary issues back in Washington.

Q    So, to be clear, though, are there any plans being put in place potentially for Vice President Harris to host the last day of the summit on the day when there could be a government shutdown?

MR. KIRBY:  We’re planning on the President having a terrific set of engagements out in San Francisco.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Andrew with the Independent.

Q    Hi.  Can y’all hear me all right?

MODERATOR:  We sure can.

Q    Wonderful.  Admiral, thanks for doing this.

I wanted to return to a subject I’ve — I’ve been asking you about, which is getting Americans and their families out of Gaza.  The other day, I asked about the definition you’re using for “family” and you referred me to the State Department.  Well, the State Department is using a definition that excludes
Parents, under certain circumstances, and siblings.  But for other things — consular services, emergency services — the definition of immediate family the State Department uses does include your parents and your siblings, whether you are of age or not.

So, do you have any visibility into why this very narrow definition of immediate family is being used in Gaza only?  And is — is this possibly the Israelis or the Egyptians trying to restrict who can get out, limit the number of people getting out?  Because it sounds like the State Department normally defines your immediate family one way, but for the purposes of getting out of Gaza, it’s much more narrow.  And I can’t seem to find any reason for — for this.  So, I’m asking you once again.

MR. KIRBY:  I do appreciate the question, again.  But I — I would — as I did the other day, I’m going to refer you to the State Department to talk to the criteria and the — and the — and the qualifications that they’re using.

We know that their sum total before people were starting to get out — that there was about a thousand to 1,200 U.S. citizens.  That includes LPRs as well as family members.  The total population was about a thousand-plus.  And we’ve already gotten out 400 total, so less than half of the of the — of the number we believe are — are there.

But I really am not in a position to speak to the — the parameters under which the State Department is laboring to get these folks out.  That’s really a better question put to them.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Q    Does it — does it — how c- — does it concern — does it concern you that Americans in Gaza may be forced to choose between remaining in a warzone and — and leaving their — you now, their parents, their brothers, their sisters, their families because of this?

MR. KIRBY:  What concerns us is making sure that all those U.S. citizens and — and their family members are — are able to — to leave and to get to safety.  And that — David Satterfield is working on this very, very hard.  And it has been heavy lifting.  And he continues to do that — that lifting.  And — and that’s important.  And what we’re focused on is making sure we can get them — get them out.
But again, for the parameters and — and what qualifies, that’s really a better question put to my State Department colleagues.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our final question will go to Patsy with VOA.

Q    Thank you, Sam.  Thanks, John.  So, I have a — two questions on the upcoming meeting with the — President Widodo.  Obviously, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population.  It’s part of the Global South.  The White House announcement does not mention Gaza, but you told my colleague yesterday that the topic might likely come up.  My question is how does the President plan to engage President Widodo on this issue when there’s a large gap between the U.S. position and Indonesia’s demands for (inaudible)?

MR. KIRBY:  You broke up there, Patsy.  Are you still with me?  Patsy?

Okay.  Well, I’ll go ahead and answer what I think the question was.  And if I’m wrong, Patsy, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

I won’t get ahead of the President and his discussion the — with the — with President Widodo.

As I said yesterday, it’s certainly plausible that what’s going on in the Middle East will — will come up.  It is, you know, one of the, obviously, most significant issues going on in the world today.  So, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if — if it’s part of the agenda and the discussions.

And I’m certainly not going to get ahead of h- — how the President might raise it and in what contexts.

As I said yesterday, the — the President understands that there are strong feelings about what’s going on in the Middle East.  And he will continue to make — to make it clear that the United States stands with Israel, that we will continue to support their efforts to eliminate this threat that they — that is posed by Hamas to their lives and to their livelihoods — to their very sovereignty.  That’s not going to change.

And he will also continue to make it clear to foreign leaders around the world that we also will do everything we can to help the Palestinian people get the humanitarian assistance they need, get safe passage that they need.  Again, today’s announcement by the Israelis is a — is a good step in that direction and, again, a direct result of his personal leadership and diplomacy here.

And that — that we are also not going to pull away from what he believes to be the real promise of a two-state solution.

I’ll le- — I think I’ll leave it at that.

Q    Can I just have one quick one, if I may?  Has the President reached any ground in convincing Prime Minister Netanyahu that having Israel take control of security in Gaza for an indefinite period is a bad idea?

MR. KIRBY:  I — I’m not going to speak to private conversations in any great detail.

His last conversation was a few days ago with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  You heard Secretary Blinken speak to this in Tokyo at the G7, reiterating what the President has also said: We do not believe an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza is in the best interest of Israel or, quite frankly, in the best interest of the Palestinian people.

And that — that hasn’t changed.  And we don’t anticipate — let me put it another way: That’s not going to change.

As Secretary Blinken said also, it — it’s certainly plausible that there could be some sort of a transitional period where, in the immediate aftermath, Israeli forces would be present for a specific period of time and for tactical security purposes.  But that is not the same as governance in Gaza.

What we believe is that the Palestinian people have a right to determine their future and have a right to determine how they’re governed.  And they have a right and — quite frankly, to a gover- — a governing structure that looks after their interests, helps them pursue their aspirations, and tries to secure for them some measure of peace and security.

And so, we absolutely believe that the Palestinian Authority need — needs to be a part of that process.

But how it’s all going to work, what it’s going to look like — we don’t have the answers to all those questions yet.  But we are asking them, as you are, and we are talking to our partners about them.  And, you know, we’ll — we’ll continue to work this.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Q    Thank you.

MODERATOR:  And thanks to everyone for joining us today and your patience there at the beginning.

As always, if we didn’t get to you, please reach out to our distro and we’ll try to get back as quick as we can.


Thanks.

Banner Image: Pro-Palestine protest. Image Credit – Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona


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