Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday firmly stated that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will not have any role in governing the Gaza Strip after Hamas is eradicated. The announcement flies in the face of the Biden administration and the United Nations, both of whom have insisted that this should be the outcome after the war is concluded.
Netanyahu’s declaration comes as the U.S. and U.N. have been pressuring Israel to allow the PA to take over the region.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, said that Israel had no intention to hand over Gaza to the Palestinian Authority after the war ended. He was rebuffing the United States’ pressure.
Netanyahu stated that “the Palestinian Authority, in its present form, is not capable of taking responsibility for Gaza”.
Netanyahu questioned, “How could we give it to them after we have fought so hard and done all of this?”
He pointed out that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has not yet condemned the October 7, 2008 massacre, which sparked off the Gaza War. Hamas had killed more than 1,200 people in the attack and taken over 239 hostages.
Netanyahu stated that “Abu Mazen, 43 days after the worst Jewish massacre since the Holocaust, has refused to condemn the event”, adding that Palestinian ministers are praising the event.
Netanyahu added that the PA also pays monthly stipends for terrorists and families. It also teaches its children hatred of Jews.
He reminded that in 2005 after the IDF left Gaza, the PA took over the territory, but was ousted in 2007 by Hamas.
What have we done if there’s no change? “They [the PA] had already been there. They were given the Gaza Strip, and what happened was that they were destroyed, and chased from there in less than one year,” Netanyahu said.
He said: “There needs to be a shift here. That is my opinion, and I stand behind it.”
Joe Biden, the president of the United States, wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Saturday.
In our efforts to achieve peace, Gaza and the West Bank must be united under one governance structure. This will eventually lead to a revitalized Palestinian Authority. We are all working towards a two-state solution. I told Israel’s leaders with a clear message that the extremist violence committed against Palestinians living in the West Bank had to stop, and those responsible for the violence should be held accountable. The United States will take its own measures, such as issuing visas to extremists who attack civilians in the West Bank.
Netanyahu responded to this argument by saying that the PA in its current state is incapable of managing Gaza responsibly. His remarks about the PA’s support of terrorism and failure to stop extremist groups such as Hamas from becoming powerful are particularly compelling in that they illustrate that the organization was little better than the terrorists who started the war on October 7 with a shocking attack.
Netanyahu reiterated during the press conference that Israel and the U.S. were on the same team when it came to destroying Hamas and rescuing hostages. He stated that the IDF will “have complete freedom of movement in the Gaza Strip to combat any threat.” Israel would not rest until all Hamas members were dead, whether they were in Gaza or outside.
It makes sense, given the history of the PA, that Netanyahu and other leaders would be reluctant to give it control over Gaza. Along with its support for terrorism, the organization is also known to commit egregious abuses of human rights against Palestinian civilians.
It does raise some questions, however, about what will be happening in Gaza once Hamas has been eliminated. This is especially true if it comes to alternative governance structures and solutions, which will need to be considered if the PA cannot govern the region. How long will Israel occupy Gaza if it does retain military control? All of these questions will need to be addressed if peace is to be possible after the war.