Biden administration weighs formation of post-war Gaza peacekeeping force, with US official serving as civilian advisor

The Biden administration could endorse the formation of a Palestinian or Arab peacekeeping force in postwar Gaza, with a US official serving as its top civilian advisor, Politico reports, citing four US officials with knowledge on the matter.

According to the report, the US expects to play a prominent role in rebuilding and rehabilitating the Gaza Strip once Israel’s war against Hamas has concluded but is still working to define what exactly this would look like.

One option being considered is to appoint a US official to serve as a civilian adviser to a Palestinian peacekeeping force. According to the report, the US is also working to persuade Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates to join the force, should it be formed.

The US adviser would not be located in Gaza itself, the unnamed officials tell Politico, as the Biden administration is not keen to be seen as responsible for the day-to-day running of the Palestinian enclave. Instead, the officials suggest that the advisor could be located in Egypt or Jordan.

The possibility of comprising a peacekeeping force was discussed in a classified State Department document obtained by Politico from March of this year.

The document suggests that the peacekeeping force should not be “a US-commanded mission” as it would likely “encounter fierce resistance by the Palestinian people given US support for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.”

Instead, the document suggests the force should be comprised of some 2,000 Palestinian members and an additional 1,000 members from Arab countries, with an “appropriately senior officer” from either Israel, Egypt of a reformed Palestinian Authority at its helm.

The report adds that the US currently favors Egypt as the contender to lead the force.

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