On the streets of the besieged Strip, there appears to be little appetite for a Palestinian Authority government, despite Abbas’s suggestion that the PA might be open to returning to Gaza.
Gaza Strip – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said Israel would govern the security of the Gaza Strip for an “indefinite period” after the ongoing war, in comments that came amid a growing debate over what the besieged strip might look like after the war.
Israel and its biggest ally, the United States, have insisted that Hamas – currently in power in Gaza – cannot be allowed to continue to rule the strip, following its attack on southern Israel on October 7, in which an estimated 1,400 people were killed.
However, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Sunday and indicated that the PA would be willing to return to the besieged enclave as part of a future political settlement.
“We will fully assume our responsibilities within the framework of a comprehensive political solution that includes all of the [occupied] West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip,” Abbas was quoted as telling United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Blinken was visiting Ramallah, the PA’s seat in the occupied West Bank.
So how do people in Gaza view the prospect of the PA taking power in the besieged Strip 17 years after Hamas won legislative elections, and then a military battle against Fatah, the political arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), chaired by Abbas?
Here are some voices from the ground:
I don’t think the PA taking over Gaza is a solution people will accept or support. I reject it because I can see what’s happening in the West Bank, which is under PA’s control.
There are always raids into so many towns and people are always arrested in these areas considered under the PA’s rule.
They don’t change anything on the ground. This is why its rule will not benefit Gaza in any way. I would be for a national unity government [including Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions].
That would be much better.
The PA will not protect Gaza because it participated in its siege repeatedly and oppressed the people of Gaza, all because of its dispute with Hamas. We don’t believe it can be fair in Gaza.
The president always gives these speeches talking about Gaza and his responsibility towards it, but he doesn’t do what he says.
The evidence is the siege and the explosion that occurred in Gaza. If the PA were good for the West Bank, it may have been good in Gaza.
But we can see that the return of the PA is impossible. It can only come as part of a national unity government chosen by the people.
The West Bank is enough of an example of how life is for other Palestinians under the rule of the PA. The Israeli occupation has an iron fist that strikes at the simplest rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.
The only solution, or any next move that should be discussed now, should prioritise the means of how to dismantle years of occupation and military rule across the occupied territories.
That will help whoever runs Gaza, from among the Palestinian factions, to do what is best for the people, and for the people only.
Abu Hakeem, 45
Whether the PA is a valid alternate player that could take power over two million people here doesn’t seem to be a priority question for people right now.
What the US and the PA are discussing now, no matter what, can’t be enough to guarantee the safety of my family or thousands of others who are currently in Gaza under fire from Israeli warplanes.
We have been calling for years for the mere human rights that we need to have a life – like employment, electricity, clean water, freedom of movement and the right to seek medical referral outside.
The legitimacy of the PA as a suitable power, and of any other ruler in Gaza, comes into the equation only when we have enough for a good life and survival from this hell.