WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Biden administration is pushing back on assertions that Israel would occupy Gaza in the aftermath of the war.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Tokyo Wednesday, meeting with G7 leaders. Not only did he push back on a broader occupation, but G7 allies called for urgent action to help civilians trapped in Gaza.
“All of us want to end this conflict as soon as possible,” Blinken said.
In Tokyo, Blinken and G7 leaders stressed the need to protect civilians amid the humanitarian crisis inside Gaza.
He also warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against permanently occupying the Gaza Strip.
“There can’t be a return to the situation, the status quo, before October 7th,” Blinken said.
As the death toll rises and essential goods run low, U.S. lawmakers are promising to include humanitarian aid in their massive package designed to help Israel defeat Hamas.
“We will work hard, hopefully in a bipartisan way, to get this done,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
But trying to balance the needs of Israel and Palestinian civilians is increasing tension on Capitol Hill.
“I will not be silenced, and I will not let you distort my words,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said.
Tuesday night, Tlaib — the only Palestinian-American in Congress — defended her criticism of Israel’s aggression.
“Palestinian people are not disposable,” she said. “We are human beings.”
With the help of 22 Democrats, Republicans voted to censure Tlaib for using the controversial slogan “from the river to the sea,” which critics insist is a rallying cry to destroy Israel.
“Congresswoman Tlaib’s words and actions are abhorrent and beneath her office,” Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., said.
The White House says there won’t be a ceasefire until Hamas is destroyed and hostages are free. Wednesday offered little update on efforts to get more aid into Gaza and people out.
“It’s a delicate negotiating process,” John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, said.
The status of the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas is still unclear. The White House said Wednesday they cannot confirm or deny proof of life of any specific individuals.