Israeli official suggests PA could rule Gaza if it undergoes ‘significant reforms’

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Damaged buildings and Israeli troops are seen in the northern Gaza Strip, November 16, 2023 (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
Damaged buildings and Israeli troops are seen in the northern Gaza Strip, November 16, 2023 (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

The Israeli official speaking to The Times of Israel says Jerusalem has not actually ruled out the idea of the Palestinian Authority ever returning to govern the Gaza Strip, as desired by the US.

He say comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week that suggested as much only indicated that the PA will “need to undergo significant reforms in order to do so.”

The US has publicly implored Israel to plan for who will rule Gaza if the IDF succeeds in its war aim of eliminating Hamas, arguing that failure to prepare in advance risks leading to Israel being bogged down in the enclave indefinitely.

Israel has yet to publicly comment on the future of Gaza beyond Netanyahu saying that the IDF will maintain overall security control of the Strip for an indefinite period after the war — a stance that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken came out against on Thursday.

A source familiar with the matter clarifies that Israel does actually have officials privately working on “day after” plans and that it has reached out to the US in order to launch a joint dialogue on the matter.

However, the source indicates to The Times of Israel that there has been a degree of disorder in Washington, with officials in both the White House and the State Department working on the issue, “but we still don’t know who is going to lead that in the administration.”

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