Palestinian authority working with US on Gaza plan
Baku, December 8, AZERTAC
The Palestinian Authority is working with US officials on a plan to run Gaza after the ongoing war is over, with one of its top leaders arguing that Israel’s aim to fully defeat Hamas is unrealistic and the militant group should instead join it under a new governing structure, according to Bloomberg.
Speaking to Bloomberg in his West Bank office on Thursday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said his preferred outcome of the conflict that started Oct. 7 would be for Hamas to become a junior partner under the broader Palestine Liberation Organization, helping to build a new independent state that includes the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
The Authority, which once ran Palestinian affairs in both the West Bank and Gaza, has been limited to the West Bank since 2007 when Hamas pushed it out. Hamas was formed in the late 1980s as a radical Islamist competitor to the PLO which was coming to terms with Israel’s existence. Hamas rejects Israel entirely, but Shtayyeh suggested that could change.
“Hamas before Oct. 7 is one thing and after is another thing,” said Shtayyeh, a 65-year-old economist who’s been running the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas since 2019. “If they are ready to come to an agreement and accept the political platform of the PLO, then there will be room for talk. Palestinians should not be divided.”
Yet that proposal contradicts what Israel says it sees as the future of Gaza, an impoverished coastal strip of 2.2 million. The country’s military launched an air and ground campaign to destroy Hamas in the enclave after the group’s attack on Oct. 7, when some 1,200 people were killed and 240 taken hostage.
Israel says it won’t stop its campaign until Hamas is eradicated. It says no group based in Gaza should be able to threaten it again — and that means patrolling the territory for the foreseeable future.
US officials visited Abbas earlier this week to discuss a plan for the day after the war in Gaza, the Palestinian official said. Both sides agreed that Israel shouldn’t reoccupy Gaza, reduce its land for a buffer zone or drive Palestinians out. That suggests plenty of friction ahead.
“We’re not going to go there on an Israeli military plan,” Shtayyeh said. “Our people are there. We need to put together a mechanism, something we’re working on with the international community. There will be huge needs in terms of relief and reconstruction to remedy the wounds.”
Shtayyeh will fly to Qatar this weekend to ask Doha to switch its substantial financial support for Hamas of recent years over to the Palestinian Authority, giving it more resources to achieve postwar aims.