Jerusalem: Israel will insist on security control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the foreseeable future after the war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, rejecting rule by the Palestinian Authority despite calls from the US.
"This is a mandatory condition, and it contradicts the idea of sovereignty," Netanyahu told journalists in a broadcast briefing Thursday. "Every piece of territory we leave becomes a place from which to launch terrible terrorism against us."
Netanyahu said he told the US of his position and "put the brakes" on what he called efforts to force a reality on Israel that would only hurt the country.
"A prime minister of Israel must be able to say no "- also to the closest of friends," Netanyahu said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other US officials have said a lasting peace wouldn't be possible without an eventual state for Palestinians. "Israel must stop taking steps that undercut Palestinians' ability to govern themselves effectively," Blinken said in Tel Aviv this month.
Asked about Netanyahu's comments, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters Thursday in Washington that there's no way for Israel to solve its long-term challenges without establishing a Palestinian state.
"There is a historic opportunity that Israel has to deal with challenges that it has faced since its founding, and we hope the country will take that opportunity," he said.
Netanyahu said Israel would accept a Gaza civil authority that "does not preach or educate for the destruction of the state of Israel and doesn't send terrorists to Israel."
Indicating that he wouldn't accept the Palestinian Authority, he said "I would be happy if we could find Gazans who would do this."
The Palestinian Authority has been working with US officials on a plan to run Gaza after the ongoing war is over, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has told Bloomberg News.