Israel tells US it will 'accept international forces taking over Gaza'
Israel has reportedly agreed to allow international forces to be deployed to the Gaza Strip after its current assault on the Palestinian territory ends.
US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk was informed of the decision during his visit to Israel on Wednesday, when he sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported on Thursday.
Israel had previously said that it had ruled out the return of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern Gaza, Kan’s sources said.
Netanyahu said last week that Israeli forces will have "indefinite security control" of Gaza but has backtracked following pressure from the US.
Washington said Israel cannot occupy the enclave after the war, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken commenting last week that the administration of Gaza had to be "re-unified" with the West Bank, parts of which are controlled by President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority.
Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 following a bitter conflict with forces from Abbas's Fatah movement and there are serious doubts over whether the PA will be able to exercise control in the territory given the implications this would have for the authority's legitimacy.
A source previously told The New Arab that the "image of the PA arriving behind Israeli tanks and warplanes, and then trying to administer a shattered and ravaged Gaza, is highly impractical".
In a decisive vote, the UK House of Commons on Wednesday night rejected a Gaza ceasefire proposal with a significant majority — 293 MPs voted against it, while only 125 voted in favour.— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) November 16, 2023
This vote also laid bare the deep-seated division within the opposition Labour Party ⬇ pic.twitter.com/wtQ8sgjqVj
While Western governments want to involve the PA in the future of Gaza, diplomats believe Abbas does not have sufficient authority or support from his people to take charge.
Israel has continued its indiscriminate bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza City, announcing this week the seizure of the parliament building, government offices and Hamas police headquarters.
The Palestinian health ministry has said the death toll from the offensive is now nearly 11,500, most of them women and children.
There have been calls around the world for a ceasefire amid growing outrage over civilian casualties and the targeting of hospitals but the US has so far refused to back one.