Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the Israeli army is the only force that can take over military responsibility in Gaza after the war and ensure his country’s security, while saying he does not see any future administrative role for the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. -At least in its current form.
“We need to see the following two things,” Mr. Netanyahu told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Gaza must be demilitarized and Gaza must be free of extremism. And I think so far we have not seen any Palestinian force, including the Palestinian Authority, able to do that.
In response to a question about who could therefore rule Gaza, he said: “It is too early to say.” He added: “The first task we must achieve is to defeat Hamas.”
Netanyahu’s comments echoed those he made to the Israeli public in a televised news conference on Saturday evening, which was his most public description of his vision for Gaza after the end of the Israeli military campaign there against Hamas, which controls the Strip. He said Israel must maintain its security control there “for as long as necessary” and have the ability to enter Gaza at will to deal with perceived threats there.
His statements appear to be somewhat at odds with the Biden administration, which made clear last week that there should be no Israeli “reoccupation” of Gaza. Secretary of State Antony Blinken left the door open to the possibility of a post-war “transition period,” but said the eventual administration of Gaza “must include Palestinian-led governance and a unified Gaza with the West Bank under the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the challenges ahead on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program on Sunday, saying the best scenario is for a “renewed Palestinian authority” to take leadership in Gaza, where Hamas has pushed it out. Gaza. Authority in 2007.
He added that the best scenario would also require Israel to agree to “negotiate a two-state solution with the support of the international community.” He added: “What is the one-state solution with the presence of such a large number of Palestinian people inside that state without any rights? “That would be unthinkable.”
Israel has been ambiguous about who might run Gaza if and when Hamas is expelled, even as it comes under increasing international criticism over the humanitarian crisis and rising death tolls from its air strikes and subsequent ground invasion of the Strip. More than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to Gaza health officials.
The war was sparked by a cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7, in which an estimated 1,200 people were killed and about 240 others were taken hostage in Gaza, according to Israeli officials. Israel’s stated goals in the war are to dismantle Hamas’ military power and ability to rule Gaza, as well as to return the hostages to their homes.
When asked about a possible hostage deal, Netanyahu told “Meet the Press” that it was “possible” that there would be a hostage deal, but added: “The less you talk about it, the more chances it will be implemented.” Israeli representatives are holding talks with mediators including Qatar.
But Mr. Netanyahu has now made clear that he will not agree to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority taking over civil affairs in Gaza unless it changes some of its behavior and unless its leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, explicitly condemns the October 7 attack on Gaza. Israel – something that Mr Abbas has so far refrained from doing.
In addition to not convicting, Mr. Netanyahu cited teaching children hatred of Israel and paying money to assailants convicted of attacks against Israelis — all common Israeli accusations against the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in parts of Israel. Occupied West Bank.
“The October 7 massacre proved once and for all that everywhere Israel does not have security control, terrorism is establishing itself,” Netanyahu said on Saturday. He added: “In the end, it comes back to strike us, and this also applies to Judea and Samaria,” referring to the West Bank by its biblical names.
He said this is why he does not agree to give up security control of Gaza “under any circumstances.”
Nabil Abu Rudeina, Mr. Abbas’s spokesman, stressed on Sunday that any Israeli attempt to separate Gaza from the West Bank would be doomed to failure. In a clear response to Mr. Netanyahu’s statements, Mr. Abu Rudeina said in statements reported by Wafa Agency, the official Palestinian Authority news agency, that “consolidating the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem will not bring security to anyone.” “.
Abu Rudeina added that stability will not be achieved except by ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state in those areas.
Mr. Netanyahu, a conservative and longest-serving Israeli prime minister, continues the war amid declining approval ratings. The ultra-nationalist parties that make up a major part of his ruling coalition do not see the Palestinian Authority as a partner, and after the October 7 attacks, there is broad consensus among Israelis that Hamas must be expelled from Gaza — even though its full movement is over. Elimination will likely be impossible.
The view in the Israeli government is that as long as Mr. Abbas does not directly condemn Hamas for the October 7 attacks, any agreement to install his authority in Gaza as an alternative to the group would make Mr. Netanyahu look weak in their eyes. Many Israelis, according to an Israeli government official who was not authorized to speak publicly about internal discussions.
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