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Pentagon drafts Gaza peacekeeping force plan

Gaza, 30 March, 2024, (GNP): The discussions within the Pentagon reflect a growing concern over the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza amid the relentless conflict with Israel.

The devastating toll of the war, marked by extensive destruction and loss of civilian lives, underscores the urgent need for international intervention to restore peace and stability to the region.

While the deployment of US troops is not on the immediate agenda, the Defense Department is actively exploring alternative avenues for facilitating peace efforts.

A multinational or Palestinian-led peacekeeping mission is being considered as a potential mechanism to mitigate the escalating violence and pave the way for diplomatic solutions.

A senior official within the Biden administration has acknowledged the ongoing discussions regarding the potential deployment of a peacekeeping force in Gaza, “we are working with partners on various scenarios for interim governance and security structures in Gaza once the crisis recedes” he said.

“We’ve had a number of conversations with both the Israelis and our partners about key elements for the day after in Gaza when the time is right,” the official added.

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One of the Pentagon officials, as reported by Politico, recognized that any post-war plans for Gaza would require Israel’s involvement as a crucial participant in the negotiations.

However, at present, the Pentagon is primarily concentrated on managing the ongoing conflict.

“Israel is the long pole in the tent,” one of the Defence officials said, adding that Israel “has their hands full with other things” at the moment.

“It would be one thing if the administration and the Israeli government were aligned on the way ahead, but that is just not the case.”

The discussions encompass not only the Pentagon but also involve the White House and State Department, along with the participation of foreign governments, according to the four officials who spoke to Politico.

Initial planning reportedly involves the Defense Department providing funding for the foreign security force, as indicated by two of the officials.

Additionally, another official mentioned that the allocated funds could also be utilized for reconstruction efforts, humanitarian aid, and addressing other essential needs in the region.

A significant portion of Gaza has faced extensive destruction since the onset of Israel’s war in October, with videos circulating on social media depicting Israeli forces indiscriminately demolishing buildings and entire blocks using explosives, and setting fire to residential properties.

The question remains unanswered regarding who would undertake the training and provision of equipment for the Palestinian force if that option is ultimately pursued.

Meanwhile, Israel faces accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which, on Thursday, urged Israel to take further actions to prevent famine in Gaza.

It warned that “Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine but that famine is setting in.”