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US wants PA security forces deployed to post-war Gaza

US wants Palestinian Authority security forces deployed to post-war Gaza: report
3 min read
18 December, 2023
The US is suggesting redeploying the Palestinian Authority's security forces to Gaza after the war, something Israel has outright rejected.
Palestinians are angry with the PA's - albeit tense - ongoing coordination with Israel [Getty]

The US has proposed deploying members of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces to the Gaza Strip after Israel’s war in the enclave ends, Axios has reported.

Washington has previously spoken of possibly "revitalising" the PA and letting it run the besieged coastal enclave as part of a long-term political solution to the Gaza war, something rejected both by Israel and Ramallah.

A source told Axios, that the Biden administration has reportedly urged Abbas to overhaul the PA and appoint younger, competent, and more dynamic individuals who can gain the trust of the international community.

The PA’s security forces in the occupied West Bank are "effective" and have prevented attacks against Israel, officials in Washington say, according to the site.

The Fatah-run PA governed Gaza when Israel withdrew in 2005 but was ousted from power by Hamas in 2007 following a brutal battle between the two sides.

Today, it has partial control over some territories in the occupied West Bank and is based in Ramallah, recognised by much of the world as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people despite Hamas winning the 2006 general election.

"They absolutely talked about post-conflict Gaza and governance issues and about a revamped and revitalised Palestinian Authority that has the responsibility and accountability for how the future of the Palestinian people is managed," White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in a briefing with reporters.

Following a meeting between White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week, Kirby said the two discussed the steps needed for the PA to be "more credible, more authentic, and more accountable".

"There are a number of Gazans who have been part of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces in the past and that might be able to serve as a nucleus for a future the many months that follow the overall military campaign…but I want to stress that this is one idea of many," a senior US official was quoted by Axios as saying in a briefing with reporters ahead of Sullivan's meeting with Abbas.

The military campaign refers to Israel’s brutal and unprecedented bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 18,800 people since 7 October, displaced most of its population, and left much of its civilian infrastructure in ruins.

Facing heavy losses, Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas despite global outcry over its indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

Armed and trained by the US, PA forces have long coordinated with Israel on security matters in the West Bank and occasionally clashed with other armed Palestinian groups.

Palestinians called on Ramallah to fully cut ties with Israel over the mass slaughter in Gaza.

Despite this, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is preparing for the possibility of war against the PA and its security forces, which could see a third front open in the war after Gaza and southern Lebanon.

Deadly Israeli raids in the West Bank since the start of the Gaza war have killed more than 270 Palestinians since October 7 alone. Hundreds more have already been killed, injured or detained since the start of this year.

Violence by illegal and extremist Jewish settlers has also increased, with some of Israel’s biggest allies – notably the US, UK, and France – condemning the attacks.