Lapid comes out against PA’s Abbas ruling Gaza, in apparent break with US

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

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid comes out against the return of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to ruling the Gaza Strip, in an apparent break with US President Joe Biden’s administration.

“There is no one in the world who thinks that Gaza should be handed over to Abu Mazen the day after the war,” Lapid tweets, using Abbas’s nom de guerre.

The US has called for the PA’s eventual return to Gaza, in a possible reuniting of the Strip and the West Bank under a single Palestinian governing body, which would lay the groundwork for a two-state solution. The Biden administration has clarified that the PA would have to be “revitalized” and that Arab or international forces would be needed to manage Gaza’s security for an interim period after the war.

US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer was asked last week about whether Abbas could be part of the picture of a postwar, Gaza-ruling PA and he did not rule out the idea, hailing Ramallah’s work to maintain stability in the West Bank under very difficult conditions allegedly created by Israel.

Netanyahu has come out forcefully against any PA involvement in Gaza, saying he won’t allow it to happen under his watch.

In a series of posts on X, Lapid insists that the idea of returning Abbas to Gaza is universally rejected but that Netanyahu is purposefully sowing a rift with the US for political gain.

“He invented this unworkable idea so that he could say that he will fight against it with all his might,” Lapid writes, carefully not ruling out the idea of returning the PA to Gaza without Abbas.

“I talked about it with the American leadership, with the Europeans, with the people of the National Unity party, with whoever you want. No one understands what he is talking about. No one thinks this can happen in the near future. Nobody! They don’t understand what he wants. Who exactly is he arguing with?

“The answer is that Netanyahu is doing what he has been doing all his life: inciting and lying and producing hatred. Now it’s just that he’s doing it in the middle of a bitter war, when soldiers are being killed every day. He learned nothing from October 7. The disaster has not changed him. He is unable to admit his guilt. This man cannot continue to be the head of the country. It’s too dangerous,” Lapid says.

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