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Israel says Palestinian Authority should not run Gaza

Israel says Palestinian Authority in current form should not run Gaza
3 min read
12 November, 2023
Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to give concrete details on how Israel envisions a post-war Gaza, but has said he does not want the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas to take control of the Palestinian enclave.
Israel has said it does not want the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas to take power in Gaza [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thrown up more doubts about the future of the Gaza Strip, suggesting that the Palestinian Authority in its current form should not take charge of the coastal enclave.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which governs Gaza, following the group's surprise 7 October cross-border assault, and has launched a full-scale invasion of the Palestinian territory.

However, it has not spelt out who should rule Gaza once Israel's onslaught – which has so far killed more than 11,000 people – is over, saying only that Israel would maintain overall security.

Washington has said Israel cannot occupy the enclave after the war, with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken saying last week that the Gaza administration had to be re-unified with the nearby West Bank, parts of which are run by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday that the PA could play a future role in governing the Gaza Strip, but Netanyahu indicated late Saturday he did not want the current PA rulers to be given free rein in Gaza.

At a news conference, Netanyahu aired his long-standing grievances over the PA's school syllabus, which he claims fuels hatred of Israel, and its policy of giving salaries to families of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

"There will not be a civilian authority that teaches its children to ... eliminate the state of Israel, there can't be an authority that pays salaries to the families of murderers," he said. He added: "There can't be an authority headed by someone who, more than 30 days after the (7 October) massacre, has still has not condemned (it)."

Abbas has denounced violence against civilians "on both sides" but has not issued an unequivocal condemnation of the 7 October attack.

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Palestinian self-determination and resistance

Palestinian officials say more than 11,100 in Gaza have been killed by Israeli strikes over the past five weeks, around 8,000 of them women and children.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesperson for Abbas, told Reuters the Israelis were seeking to perpetuate divisions between the two Palestinian territories - the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.

"Israeli attempts to separate Gaza from the West Bank will fail, and it will not be allowed, regardless of the pressures," he said.

The PA used to run both the West Bank and Gaza, but lost power after in the latter in 2007 after a Hamas won democratic elections, which led to a brief civil war between the two factions.

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While Western governments want to involve the PA in the future of Gaza, diplomats say, there is also concern that the 87-year-old Abbas does not have sufficient authority or the support of his people to take charge.

Palestinians say that it is not up to Israel or the US to decide who represents them.

Even if it was possible to get rid of Hamas as a ruling force, analysts believe that meaningful Palestinian resistance would persist and this is what Israel is attempting to curtail.