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IPAAR, Analysis

The PA’s Return to Gaza Is Impractical and Unwanted

Yoni Ben Menachem
21.5.24

The prospect of the Palestinian Authority returning to control Gaza is not practical. The Palestinian public does not support the idea and accuses the PA of corruption and acting as a subcontractor for Israel.

The prospect of the Palestinian Authority returning to control Gaza is not practical. The Palestinian public does not support the idea and accuses the PA of corruption and acting as a subcontractor for Israel.


The PA has already lost security control in northern Samaria and cannot manage Gaza or confront Hamas’ military wing.


PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was severely criticized for his remarks at the Arab Summit in Manama, Bahrain, on May 16, 2024.


His comments there have further deepened the division within Palestinian society.

Abbas blamed Hamas for providing Israel with reasons to attack Gaza: “The military action that Hamas carried out, at its own decision on October 7,” Abbas said, “gave Israel even more excuses and reasons to attack in the Gaza Strip, an attack it has continued with full force, with murder, destruction, and uprooting.”


Abbas also accused Hamas of refusing to end the split in Palestinian society and failing to align with international legitimacy, which he believes serves Israel’s interests.


In February, he urged Hamas to complete a deal for the release of Israeli hostages to prevent further disaster for Palestinians.


Hamas responded to Abbas’s latest statements with regret, emphasizing that the October 7 attack on Israel was part of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.


The PA’s Prospects in Gaza

Despite pressure from the Biden administration, Western countries, and Arab nations for the PA to manage Gaza post-war, the Israeli government does not see the PA as a viable option.


Prime Minister Netanyahu views the PA as a promoter of terrorism, pointing to its failure to condemn the October 7 massacre, its practice of paying salaries to terrorists, and its incitement against Israel in its educational and media systems.

Hamas, on the other hand, ignores the PA in its indirect negotiations with Israel regarding hostages and ceasefire deals, preferring to consult with Arab countries and Turkey.


Abbas fears that Israel plans to establish a military government in Gaza and re-establish settlements.


Why the Palestinian Authority Is Scorned

The PA’s legitimacy is questioned on the Palestinian street, where it is seen as corrupt and unfit to govern the West Bank and Gaza.


The PA’s refusal to hold general elections exacerbates this distrust, as many believe Abbas would lose.


The Gazan public harbors significant animosity towards Abbas, who imposed sanctions on Gaza in 2018 to incite rebellion against Hamas.


Many Palestinians see Abbas as a subcontractor for Israeli security.


The Biden administration is also disappointed with the PA, labeling the new technocratic government led by Mohammad Mustafa a puppet of Abbas. Corruption persists, and efforts to combat terrorism are lacking.


The PA’s loss of security control in northern Samaria to Iranian-backed terrorist groups raises further doubts about its ability to manage Gaza. It is unlikely that PA security personnel would confront Hamas’ armed terrorists.


Conclusion

Given the opposition from the Palestinian public, Israel, and the PA’s weakened state, the possibility of the PA returning to control Gaza is unlikely and impractical. Anyone who believes otherwise is grossly mistaken.

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