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US would object to 'buffer zone' inside Gaza Strip -State Department

December 6, 2023 at 8:12 pm

US State Department new Spokesperson Matthew Miller speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing at the State Department in Washington, United States, May 22, 2023 [Celal Güneş/Anadolu Agency]

The US would object to any proposed buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip as it would violate Washington’s position that the size of the Palestinian enclave must not be reduced after the current conflict, State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Reuters reported last week that Israel had informed several Arab states that it wants to carve out a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of Gaza’s border to prevent future attacks as part of proposals for the enclave after the war ends.

Speaking at a daily press briefing, Miller said among Washington’s guiding principles for the future of Gaza, was its opposition to any reduction in the densely populated enclave’s territory.

So, if any proposed buffer zone was inside Gaza, that would be a violation of that principle and something we oppose. If it’s with respect to something within Israeli territory I won’t speak to that- that’s a decision for the Israelis to make

Miller told reporters.

There would have to be a transition period after the end of major combat operations, Miller said, to avoid a “security vacuum” but it would have to be temporary, although he was not able to describe the parameters of what such a period would look like.

The conflict broke out on 7 October when Hamas crossed into southern Israel and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in a rampage against kibbutzim and other communities. More than 200 hostages were taken back into Gaza.

Israel, vowing to wipe out Hamas once and for all, responded with a bombing campaign and ground offensive which has destroyed large areas of Gaza and killed, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry, more than 15,000 people.

READ: Israel forces battle Hamas in southern Gaza, humanitarian alarm grows