U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proposed the Palestinian Authority take over the rule of Gaza once the Israel-Hamas war is over.
During the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday, Blinken said: “At some point, what would make the most sense would be for an effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority to have governance and ultimately security responsibility for Gaza.”
He noted that the path to a Gaza Strip ruled by the Palestinian Authority may not be straightforward, and that “international agencies” may need to get involved.
“Whether you can get there in one step is a big question that we have to look at. And if you can’t, then there are other temporary arrangements that may involve a number of other countries in the region,” Blinken said. “It may involve international agencies that would help provide for both security and governance.”
Blinken made it clear that there can be no “reversion of the status quo with Hamas running Gaza”, but that, in the absence of another alternative, Israel should not govern Gaza.
“We also can’t have – and the Israelis start with this proposition themselves – Israel running or controlling Gaza. That’s not their intent. It’s [not] what they want to do. And it’s not something that would be supported,” Blinken said.
The secretary of state is scheduled to visit Israel this Friday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has said that it will not engage in discussions about the future governance of Gaza, as it is solely focusing on eliminating Hamas.
“The issue of the ‘day after’ has not been discussed in any official forum in Israel, which is focused at this time on destroying the governing and military capabilities of Hamas,” the prime minister’s office said.
The PA, on the other hand, has said it will only assume control over Gaza as part of a broader peace initiative to create a Palestinian state.
“To have the Palestinian Authority go to Gaza and run the affairs of Gaza without a political solution for the West Bank, as if this Palestinian Authority is going aboard an F-16 or an Israeli tank? I don’t accept it. Our president [Mahmoud Abbas] does not accept it. None of us will accept it,” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told the UK’s Guardian newspaper in an interview in Ramallah published on Sunday.
The PA leadership has been praising the Oct. 7 massacre of civilians by Hamas. Less than two days after Hamas terrorists invaded the south of Israel, Abbas’ Fatah party celebrated the murders and announced that its terror wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, would be committing even more terror acts against Israelis. Senior Fatah Official Abbas Zaki also praised Hamas for committing the Oct. 7 massacre during a tv program on Oct.14 in which he appeared with Osama Hamdan of Hamas’ Political Bureau.
“After October 7, there has been a Palestinian revival,” Zaki said. “The time has come for a united front that is capable of defeating the Americans, who use the Israelis as a proxy to accomplish their goals. We are certain that the future is ours. If he [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] begins to crush Gaza, the skulls of all the Jews and Americans in the region will be crushed.
“I am pleased with Osama Hamdan. We are friends,” Zaki added. “We understand each other. Victory has been promised to us. The ruse by Hamas, how it prepared [for the attack], and how it accomplished this victory – I believe that people will emulate this. It may happen [in the West Bank]. If they want to slaughter the entire Palestinian people, they will be the ones slaughtered.”