June 19, 2024

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Italy presses Israel to consider aftermath of Gaza offensive

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Italy’s foreign minister has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to use the upcoming four-day pause in hostilities in Gaza to carefully consider the region’s political future, once the active phase of the conflict is over.

Antonio Tajani told the Financial Times that the Israeli government needed to talk with its closest allies on the next steps for the densely populated strip after it ended its military offensive in Gaza.

“Israel must dismantle the military and terror structures, but it must already think about the aftermath,” Tajani said on Wednesday. “Who will rule Gaza? Who will take care of 2mn Palestinian citizens? How can Israel resume its political engagement with the Arab countries of the region?”

He added that Italy was working with friendly Arab countries, starting with Egypt, to find “a possible political and diplomatic exit route from this military phase”.

The Israel Defense Forces’ military operation in Gaza was prompted by the Hamas militant group’s attack on October 7, in which about 1,200 Israeli nationals were killed and about 240 taken hostage, according to Israeli officials. Israel’s assault on Gaza in response has laid waste to swaths of the strip and left close to 13,000 people dead, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry.

Tajani had proposed that a UN administration, backed by international peacekeepers, could run Gaza for several years after the war ended, while giving time to work towards a long-term political solution to the decades-old conflict.

“Hamas wants all the Arab countries against Israel,” he said. “We need to achieve a solution for the Palestinians to have all the Arab countries against Hamas.”

“The final goal is two peoples, two states but we need to pave the way for reaching this agreement,” Tajani added. “We are ready to do what we need to do for…

2023-11-22 10:08:49

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