Biden says Gaza, West Bank should be 'reunited' under Palestinian Authority
Gaza and the West Bank should eventually be "reunited" under a new Palestinian Authority, US President Joe Biden said in an opinion piece Saturday, as questions swirl over the future of the region following Israel's relentless bombardment of Gaza.
The death toll from Israel's military campaign in Gaza continues to climb to 12,300 people, including more than 5,000 children, according to the Palestinian government in Gaza.
The United States has since voiced concerns over the manner of the strikes and questions over the long-term future of the besieged territory following the conflict.
"As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution," Biden wrote in the piece published in The Washington Post.
Israel's top ally Washington has given its full backing to the country's conduct in Gaza since October 7.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu challenged Biden's plan and said the Palestinian Authority "in its current form is not capable of receiving responsibility for Gaza" in a news conference in Tel Aviv.
Abbas, meanwhile, appealed to Biden to use his "significant influence" on Israel "to intervene immediately to... stop this humanitarian catastrophe, this genocide against our innocent people."
In a meeting with top US diplomat Antony Blinken earlier this month, Abbas said the PA could only assume power in Gaza if a "comprehensive political solution" is found for the decades-old Israel-Palestinian conflict encompassing the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Abbas, 88, who has led the PA for 18 years, has been deemed powerless against the rapid expansion of Israeli settlements and military control in occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.
In his letter Saturday, Biden also threatened sanctions against settlers committing violence against Palestinians in occupied West Bank amid the conflict in Gaza.
The Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza Strip is now unable to cope after it ran out of blood and resources. A limited medical team is left in the hospital to tend to the nonstop stream of the injured after enduring increasing Israeli attacks in the past two weeks 👇 pic.twitter.com/RXqjPG5EXE— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) November 17, 2023
"I have been emphatic with Israel's leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable," he said.
"The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank."
The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah says since the Gaza war, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, with a spike in army raids and Israeli settler violence.