Palestinian Authority sets terms for governing Gaza, elections after war
Members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) have said that their government is ready to take control of Gaza following an end of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, in a sign of openness to US President Joe Biden's plan to reunify Gaza and the occupied West Bank.
Speaking to Newsweek on Wednesday, a senior member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani said that as well reunifying the territories, the PA would be prepared to hold national elections.
"We're ready for a reform political agenda with a free, democratic general election," he said, adding that returning to Gaza would be done "with a political solution."
That political solution would likely come from a guarantee that Israel would support the creation of an independent Palestinian state as part of a US-backed two-state solution.
However, Israeli officials speaking to Newsweek said that it was in any post-war situation it is likely that Israel would demand a "continued Israeli security presence in the territory" to continue its operations against Hamas.
Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas following its 7 October attack on southern Israel that killed 1,200 Israelis, with over 200 hostages being taken back to Gaza.
At least 17,177 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip, including 7,112 children, with over 46,000 Palestinians wounded, according to Gaza health authorities.
The Israeli demands would be unacceptable to the PA, according to Majdalani, who said that the PA would not support international peacekeepers in Gaza either. He added that with Egyptian and Jordanian assistance it would be able to provide security to Gaza.
Trapped under the rubble of a five-storey building in Gaza, a 13-year-old called Alma pleaded for rescuers to help free her relatives first. What happened to her family members is not known ⬇ pic.twitter.com/W3B7UbyYVw— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) December 5, 2023
The comments surrounding a post-war settlement in Gaza follow recent remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that "not only will there not be a renewed Palestinian Authority in Gaza after the war; there will be no Palestinian authority in Gaza at all".
Israel has also maintained that Gaza should be kept demilitarised, a policy that it has also extended to the occupied West Bank as a prerequisite for a two-state solution.
It comes as the PA faces a crisis of authority with support waning in the occupied West Bank, with huge dissatisfaction over the PA security cooperation with Israel.
Since 7 October, 277 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, 63 of whom are children, with a further 3,365 Palestinians injured ,according to figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health.