US drawing up plans for postwar Gaza – Politico
US officials have been discussing how to hand control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA) once the Israel-Hamas war is over, Politico reported on Monday. The preliminary plan is for a revamped PA to step in once an international force has stabilized the region, an anonymous source told the outlet.
The PA is currently in power in the West Bank, and previously controlled Gaza before being ousted by Hamas in legislative elections in 2006. Political tensions between the two groups turned violent the following year, and reconciliation efforts have failed to bring Gaza and the West Bank under single Palestinian political rule.
Washington reportedly considers the PA unfit in its current form to govern Gaza due to corruption and inefficiency. “Ultimately, we want to have a Palestinian security structure in post-conflict Gaza,” a senior official in the administration of President Joe Biden told Politico.
Gaza has been bombarded by the Israeli military since Hamas attacked on Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 others hostage. The subsequent Israeli military operation has killed more than 16,000 Palestinians, according to officials in Gaza, and has displaced more than 1.5 million others.
The prime minister of the PA, Mohammad Shtayyeh, has warned that the Palestinian people would not accept the return of his party to Gaza without a definitive peace agreement. In an interview with The Guardian in October, he claimed that attempting to take over the enclave would amount to “the Palestinian Authority going in aboard an F-16 or an Israeli tank.”
Any strategy presented by the US would likewise face numerous obstacles, including Israeli skepticism, Politico reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to resist the establishment of a Palestinian state, claiming it would be a threat to his country’s security. “In the Middle East, any territory that you vacate will be used for an armed Islamist state against us,” the Israeli leader declared in an interview last month.
Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu even suggested in a radio interview in November that dropping an atomic bomb on Gaza was “a possibility,” before being suspended for his comments.
Elsewhere, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also said last month that he would welcome Arabs leaving the enclave, asserting that “the State of Israel will no longer be able to accept the existence of an independent entity in Gaza.”