February 24, 2024

The Palestinian Authority can’t rule Gaza once the war is over, but neither does Israel plan to build its settlements there, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the media in a series of interviews over the weekend. “Gaza has to be demilitarized and Gaza has to be de-radicalized,” Netanyahu told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning. “So far we have not seen any Palestinian force, including the Palestinian Authority that is able to do it.” He laid out his case for how the Palestinian Authority has supported antisemitism and colluded with terrorism, by using textbooks that teach pupils to hate Israel and by providing monthly monetary stipends to terrorists and their families.He told CNN that “the more Jews they [the terrorists] kill, the more they [the PA] pay.” The PA has also refused to condemn the October 7 Hamas infiltration into Israel, which resulted in over 1,200 people being killed and over 239 taken as hostages, Netanyahu told both stations. The IDF’s military campaign to oust Hamas from Gaza in light of the attack has opened the door to intense speculation as to what will happen on the day after the war. Gaza had been under Israeli military rule from 1967 to 2005 and the Palestinian Authority had operated there from 1994 to 2007. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, pulling out the army and destroying all 21 settlements that were located there, leaving it in the hands of the PA. Hamas ousted the PA in a bloody coup in 2007 and has ruled Gaza since. Netanyahu on Saturday night clarified at the tail end of a press conference that it was not realistic for Israel to rebuild its settlements in Gaza. He has repeatedly stated that the IDF must have permanent security control over Gaza but has otherwise agreed that some form of a newly constructed Palestinian government would have civilian control of the area. “We need a different authority, a different administration,” he told NBC. “It has to be a reconstructed civilian authority. There has to be something else [other than the PA] otherwise we are just falling into that same rabbit hole,” Netanyahu explained to CNN. “When Israel left Gaza [in 2005] it handed the keys to the PA,” but he said, there were “not willing to fight Hamas and they are still not willing to fight Hamas.” The United States has pushed back at Israel’s security demands for the day after the war, explaining that while the IDF may have temporary security responsibility for Gaza, it cannot do so permanently. It has also looked to see the PA return to Gaza but has been open to other solutions the Palestinian public might put forward. On Sunday US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS that the Biden administration has said that there will be “no reoccupation of Gaza, no forcible displacement of the Palestinian people…and Gaza’s territory should not be reduced.”Sullivan stressed that what was most important was that Gaza and the West Bank be reunified as a single Palestinian state, rather than be split as it is today into two governances.”Ultimately, we do want to see the reconnection, the reunification of control between the West Bank and Gaza under Palestinian leadership. “The Palestinian Authority is the current leadership on the West Bank. But ultimately, it’s gonna be up to the Palestinian people to decide their future,” Sullivan stated.