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Biden terms Gaza occupation ‘big mistake’ as Israel says may need ‘strong force’ to stay back

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Israeli President Isaac Herzog said a “very strong force” may need to remain in Gaza for the near future to prevent the Hamas militant group re-emerging after the war, but US President Joe Biden warned that occupying Gaza would be “a big mistake”.

“If we pull back, then who will take over? We can’t leave a vacuum. We have to think about what will be the mechanism; there are many ideas that are thrown in the air,” Herzog said in an interview with the FT published on Thursday.

“But no one will want to turn this place, Gaza, into a terror base again”, he added.

Herzog told FT that Israel’s government was discussing many ideas about how Gaza would be run once the war ends and added that he assumed that the United States and “our neighbours in the region” would have some involvement in the post-conflict order.

However, Biden said on Wednesday that he had made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a two-state solution was the only way to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict and that occupying Gaza would be “a big mistake”.

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