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US looks to planning for post-war Gaza as Israeli bombardment, fighting continue to rage

The US and Israel also remain deeply divided over how Gaza will be run when—and if—its current Hamas rulers are defeated.

Blinken Tel Aviv MeetingTEL AVIV: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced tough talks with Israeli leaders on Gaza’s post-war future Tuesday, while Israel’s military pushed ahead with its offensive in the beleaguered territory. Heavy bombardment and fighting shook refugee camps, sending Palestinians scrambling to find safety and hampering aid groups’ efforts to get relief to the population.

Blinken said he was coming to Israel with promises from four Arab nations and Turkey to help in rebuilding Gaza after the war. But those nations also want to see an end to the fighting in Gaza and concrete steps toward the eventual creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, something Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed not to allow.

The US and Israel also remain deeply divided over how Gaza will be run when—and if—its current Hamas rulers are defeated.

American officials have called for the Palestinian Authority, which currently governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to take the reins in Gaza. Israeli leaders have rejected that idea but haven’t put forward a concrete plan beyond an open-ended military control over the territory. At the same time, Blinken is trying to prevent an all-out war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

After a presumed Israeli strike last week hit Beirut, killing Hamas’s deputy leader, the two sides have stepped up their exchanges. On Tuesday, Hezbollah said its exploding drones targeted the Israeli army’s northern command in the town of Safed — deeper into Israel than previous fire by the group.

The Israeli military said a drone fell at a base in the north without causing damage, suggesting it had been intercepted. It did not identify the base.

“There is lots to talk about, in particular about the way forward,” Blinken said after meeting Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The United States has pressed Israel to scale down its offensive in Gaza to more precise operations targeting Hamas. But the pace of death and destruction has remained largely the same, with several hundred Palestinians killed a day, according to health officials in Gaza.

Israel has vowed to keep going until it has destroyed Hamas throughout the territory, in response to the Oct. 7 attack during which militants killed some 1,200 people, mainly civilians, in southern Israel and kidnapped around 250 others.

Still, after three months of fighting, Hamas continues to put up a fierce fight.

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