ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 55

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Abbas says PA willing to take control of Gaza, but only under a broader deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, in Ramallah in the West Bank, November 5, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool photo via AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, in Ramallah in the West Bank, November 5, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool photo via AP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterates that the PA is ready to take control of the Gaza Strip again following Israel’s war with Hamas, but says that will only happen if the move is part of a comprehensive political solution that includes a Palestinian State established along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel has said it intends to retain security control of Gaza for an indefinite period once it ends its military incursion to destroy the Hamas terror group that currently rules the Strip, but does not intend to re-occupy the enclave.

With Israel unlikely to agree to Abbas’s call, it remains unclear who will control the Strip after the conflict. The international community has also expressed hesitancy in taking a role.

In a speech marking the 19th anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Abbas calls to preserve Arafat’s “legacy” and protect the Palestine Liberation Organization – which controls the PA – as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people – thereby disavowing its rival movement Hamas.

Abbas calls for an international peace conference to provide “international guarantees” and a timetable to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

He rejects the idea that the Gaza Strip will be reoccupied by Israel, and that Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank might be forced out in a second nakba, a reference to the displacement of Palestinians in the wake of Israel’s war of independence in 1948.

After the Israeli security cabinet voted last week to withhold from the funds transferred to the PA those monies designated for Gaza’s salaries, Abbas vows that the PA will continue to pay wages for government employees in Gaza despite the cuts.

The PA leader refuses to condemn Hamas for the ongoing war, although the terror group opened hostilities on October 7 with its onslaught in which some 1,400 Israelis were killed and some 240 were kidnapped, and holds Israel “fully responsible” for the conflict, adding that military solutions will not bring security or peace to anyone.

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