Netanyahu sees no short-term role for the Palestinian Authority in a postwar Gaza | ET REALITY


JERUSALEM – Even as Israeli tanks and ground troops continued to fight Hamas militants in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday outlined a post-war vision for the territory, one that he said would not involve the Palestinian Authority in its current form.

“We need to look at the next two things,” Netanyahu said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Gaza has to be demilitarized and Gaza has to be deradicalized,” he said. “And I think so far we have not seen any Palestinian force, including the Palestinian Authority, that is capable of doing that.”

Netanyahu said “overall military responsibility” would fall to Israel after the war.

The comments contradicted views expressed by the Biden administration, which last week made clear that there should be no Israeli “reoccupation” of Gaza. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken left open the possibility of a “transitional period” after the war, but said that eventually the administration of Gaza “must include Palestinian-led governance and a unified Gaza with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.” Palestine”.

The Israeli military released images over the weekend of tanks passing by the concrete shells of half-destroyed buildings in Gaza and of soldiers fighting among abandoned houses. The military said five Israeli soldiers were killed on Friday, including four in an explosion from a booby-trapped tunnel shaft. More than 360 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel that killed 1,200 people and sparked the war.

The death toll among Gazans has been more than 11,000, according to health authorities in Hamas-controlled Gaza. And 1.58 million Gazans, about three-quarters of the territory’s population, have been displaced, according to United Nations estimates.

The Israeli military has sought to take advantage of its overwhelming advantage in firepower: fighter jets, gunships and drones have dropped bombs and missiles on the territory since the conflict began. Hamas militants, who experts say number in the tens of thousands, have retreated into a vast labyrinth of tunnels.

Over the weekend, Israeli forces battled Hamas fighters in the Al Shati neighborhood on the northwest edge of Gaza City, storming dozens of buildings in what was a densely populated area before the war, an official said. Israeli military spokesman, Daniel Hagari, in a televised program. briefing on Sunday night.

Israeli troops also attacked the Gaza port, he said. Rear Admiral Hagari said Israeli soldiers arrested dozens of Hamas militants and transferred them to Israel for interrogation.

“These dozens of captives include those who participated in the October 7 massacre,” Rear Admiral Hagari said.

Netanyahu’s comments on Sunday echoed those he made to the Israeli public in a televised press conference on Saturday night, which had been his most extensive public description yet of his vision for Gaza after the end of the campaign. military. He said Israel must maintain security control there “for as long as necessary” and have the ability to enter Gaza at will to address perceived threats there.

Israel has been vague about who could run Gaza if Hamas is overthrown, even as it comes under increasing international criticism over the humanitarian crisis and rising civilian death toll.

But Netanyahu has now made clear that he will not accept the Western-backed Palestinian Authority handling civil affairs in Gaza unless it changes some of its behavior and unless its leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, openly condemns the attack. October 7. something Abbas has refrained from doing until now.

In addition to the lack of conviction, Netanyahu pointed to teaching hatred of Israel to children and monetary payments to attackers convicted of attacks against Israelis, all common Israeli accusations against the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-government in parts of the occupied West Bank. .

“The massacre of October 7 demonstrated once and for all that wherever Israel has no security control, terrorism is entrenched,” Netanyahu said Saturday. “In the end it hits us again, and that also applies to Judea and Samaria,” he added, referring to the West Bank by its biblical names.

For this reason, he said, he will not agree to give up security control of Gaza “under any circumstances.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Abbas’ spokesman, stressed on Sunday that any Israeli attempt to separate Gaza from the West Bank was doomed to failure. In an apparent response to Netanyahu’s comments, Abu Rudeineh said in comments published by Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, that “the consolidation of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem would not bring security to anyone.” . .”

Abu Rudeineh added that stability will only be achieved by ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state in those areas.

Netanyahu, a conservative and Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, has been waging the war amid plummeting approval ratings. The ultranationalist parties that make up a key part of his governing coalition do not see the Palestinian Authority as a partner, and after the October 7 attacks, there is broad consensus among Israelis that Hamas must be expelled from Gaza, unless although its complete removal will most likely be impossible.

Outside the Middle East, the humanitarian cost of the conflict and the passions the war has unleashed continued to resonate widely.

The European Union called on Sunday for “immediate pauses in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors.”

In Paris and cities across France on Sunday, more than 100,000 protesters took to the streets to express their concern over anti-Semitic attacks that have multiplied since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.

A broad cross-section of the French political establishment led the demonstrations, including former presidents and prime ministers.

In the last month, more than 1,240 anti-Semitic acts have been reported in France, including the painting of more than 200 blue Stars of David on buildings across Paris. Police had made 539 arrests as of November 10.

Isabel Kershner and Aaron Boxerman reported from Jerusalem, and Thomas Fuller from San Francisco. Catalina Porter and Liz Alderman contributed reporting from Paris.

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