The White House on Wednesday said the United States would not put U.S. troops on the ground in Gaza in any future peacekeeping role, as it discusses with allies what post-conflict Gaza would look like.
“There’s no plans or intentions to put U.S. military troops on the ground in Gaza, now or in the future,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters as President Joe Biden flew to Minnesota.
Kirby also said the United States does not believe the pro-Iranian Palestinian militant group Hamas can be involved in the future governance of the Gaza Strip when the war with Israel is over.
As the region girds for a potential refugee crisis among the people living in Gaza, Kirby said the United States does not support a permanent settlement of Gaza civilians outside of Gaza, which has been run by Hamas.
With the civilian death toll rising in Gaza in the Israel-Hamas war, Kirby said Washington does not believe now is the time for a general ceasefire, but that humanitarian pauses in hostilities are necessary.
The Gaza health ministry says at least 8,796 Palestinians in the narrow coastal enclave, including 3,648 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes since Oct. 7.
As the United States and its allies and partners discuss options for post-war Gaza, Kirby said having Hamas in charge would be problematic in the wake of its slaughter of 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in southern Israel on Oct. 7.
“We do believe that Hamas cannot be the future of governance in Gaza. They can’t,” said Kirby. “What comes after the conflict, we don’t have all the answers yet but we are working with our partners in the region to explore what governance in Gaza can and should look like.”