The Biden administration has spent weeks drafting a multiphase postwar game plan, which includes the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) ultimately taking over the Gaza Strip; according to the latest reports.
The planning process is headed by senior National Security Council officials Brett McGurk and Terry Wolff, an NSC official.
According to reports, American officials described the plan as imperfect but viewed it as the best of only bad options.
Officials acknowledge that such a plan could put the United States on a collision course with the Israeli government, which has vowed not to hand over the entire territory to the P.A., given their long-standing streak of corruption, terrorism and antisemitic indoctrination.
The P.A. also has a history of providing financial stipends to the family members of “martyrs” who have engaged in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Other key figures involved include Middle East officials at the State Department like Barbara Leaf, Dan Shapiro, and Hady Amr.
According to two U.S. officials, a State Department official and an administration official familiar with the discussions, the State Department, the White House, and other agencies have been laying out pieces of the strategy in multiple position papers and interagency meetings since mid-October.
Although Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others in the administration have publicly said that a “revitalized” P.A. should run the strip, they have not revealed how that would work.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against such efforts, stating that instead, Israel and its allies will have to create a buffer zone in Gaza when the dust settles.
Despite pushback from Israel, American strategists drawing up the plans keep coming back to the P.A.
Despite the long-standing problems within the P.A. in the West Bank, officials say it’s the most viable option.
“We’re stuck,” the State Department official told Politico. “There’s a strong policy preference for the P.A. to play a governing role in Gaza, but it has significant legitimacy and capability challenges.”
The vision coming from the internal talks is that of a multiphase reconstruction of Gaza once the fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas terrorist fighters comes to an end.
Officials say an international force will be needed to stabilize the region in the immediate aftermath, followed by a revamped Palestinian Authority taking over long-term.
Several parts of the plan include increasing security-related aid that the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs offers the P.A., which has a history of advising P.A. security forces in the West Bank.
“Ultimately, we want to have a Palestinian security structure in post-conflict Gaza,” a senior Biden administration official told Politico.
Following the Oct. 7 massacre, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas and many other officials have been silent to condemn Hamas, given the precarious state of the P.A. in the West Bank.
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and Qatar have called on Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank to assist in their attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
In parts of the West Bank like Jenin and other areas, Israeli soldiers have been deployed to prevent Palestinian terrorists from invading Israel and creating a third front against the Jewish state.