In a statement reflecting the growing global concern over the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, Middle East specialist Frédéric Encel has underscored the necessity for the return of the Palestinian Authority to the region. This territory, under the control of Hamas since 2007, has been a hotbed of security issues and humanitarian crisis, necessitating the urgent call for governance and political stability.
The Stalemate: Palestinian Authority vs Hamas
The Palestinian Authority has signalled readiness to reclaim full control of the Gaza Strip upon cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. This intention also includes a willingness to conduct the first national elections since 2006 as part of a comprehensive long-term peace agreement, according to a senior Palestinian official. However, this proposition is countered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who firmly stated that the Palestinian Authority's assumption of power in Gaza would not transpire during his tenure. This underscores a stark difference in the governance perspectives of the Israeli and US governments post the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Billboard Controversy and Power Negotiations
In mid-November, a billboard titled 'Palestinian Authority is Hamas' surfaced in Tel Aviv, Nof HaGalil, and other Israeli cities. It portrayed an image of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas wearing a green Hamas headband, further complicating the situation. Meanwhile, Qatar has been facilitating negotiations between the two conflicting parties, aiming to secure a multi-day truce and the release of several Palestinians in Israeli detention, in exchange for Israeli hostages.
US Stance and Future of Gaza
The Biden administration maintains a steadfast support for the revitalized Palestinian Authority governing the Gaza Strip post the Israel-Hamas war. This stance appears to be gaining momentum, especially after the shocking Hamas attack on October 7. The crisis in Gaza can potentially act as a catalyst for a historical and genuine rapprochement, ending the conflict and leaving the pain behind. The future of Gaza and who will govern it is a topic of increasing debate, with Washington seemingly close to developing a clear picture of what it hopes to see.
As Encel's statement resonates worldwide, it becomes clear that the restoration of the Palestinian Authority's presence in Gaza is not just about power dynamics, but also about renewing peace talks, improving living conditions for the residents, and stabilizing the region.