Israeli proposal for the 'day after' war sparks deep Arab divides

Israeli proposal for the 'day after' war sparks deep Arab divides
A Palestinian official said there is no proposal for 'the day after' the war on Gaza and that Israel's plan had sparked fierce disagreement from Arab states.
3 min read
14 May, 2024
Israel's proposal for Gaza after the war has met with disagreement from the Arab parties involved [Getty]

A Palestinian official has confirmed there are currently no agreed-on proposals for "the day after" in Gaza, as the war on the enclave continues into its seventh month.

The official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said on Monday that no plan for post-war Gaza had been formulated, after Washington rejected an earlier proposal drafted by Saudi Arabia and amended by the Palestinian Authority (PA) just weeks into Israel's assault on Gaza.

This plan had included ensuring geographical unity between the West Bank and Gaza, unifying the legal systems and reconstruction efforts, and had discussed a political path that would lead to an independent Palestinian state with defined borders.

Disagreements over the 'day after'

The official revealed to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister edition, that instead an Israeli proposal was put forward, which outlined "a plan requiring 3-5 years for its application, during which Israel would eliminate Hamas" and permit Arab forces to position themselves in the Gaza Strip, whose tasks would include security and reconstruction.

"Later these forces would hand over the security remit to a Palestinian technocratic government, which Israel would approve", which would be called "the local civil administration".

The official said the above plan had generated deep Arab divisions, including over the fact that some of the six Arab parties involved (the PA, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia), would be carrying out a security role in Gaza.

Additionally, there was intense disagreement over the role Hamas would take after the war.

He explained that Saudi Arabia and the UAE rejected Hamas playing any role, whereas Qatar insisted the group would play a part in Palestinian politics "because its existence won't end after the war, [the outcome of] which hasn't yet been determined".

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"Currently there is no scenario on the table for the day after the war, either among the Arab group-of-six, on the one hand, nor among the US administration or the Palestinian leadership on the other."

Things have now stagnated, he said, which could continue until the US elections, in light of Washington's "continuous demands for root-and-branch reformation of the PA […] and its brandishing the scarecrow of corruption -unless sudden developments occur in the coming stage".

PA rejects US demand to govern Rafah crossing

The PA also rejected a request from Washington to take over managing the Rafah crossing, the source said.

Israeli news site Walla claimed that Israel's condition for the PA to take over the crossing was that it do so unofficially and as a "local aid committee".

Israel's primary aim was to fully remove Hamas' border point and highlighted this was the first time since 7 October that Israel had offered the PA a role in the administration of Gaza, the Israeli news site added.

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However, the request for the PA presence to be unofficial was due to Israeli political calculations and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's repeated insistence that Ramallah would not play a role in the management of Gaza.

According to Walla, the PA's refusal was partly due to anger at being asked to conceal their identity, as well as Israel's refusal to release Palestinian tax revenues.

These have been withheld for around ten days, which Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich claims is due to the PA pushing for the issue of arrest warrants for top Israeli officials via the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Palestinian official confirmed that the PA had issued an official refusal to the US request and confirmed it would only return to Gaza "within the framework of a clear political roadmap, which included an end to Israel's war on Gaza and a total Israeli withdrawal from the strip".

This article is based on two articles which appeared in our Arabic edition by Naela Khalil and Nayif Zidane on 13 May 2024. To read the original articles click here and here.