newsIsrael at War

Israel uses Gaza Fatah members to secure aid

The personnel were armed with batons and no firearms. Hamas members killed some of them during the operation.

Fatah supporters in Gaza City celebrate the anniversary of the movement's founding, Dec. 31, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Fatah supporters in Gaza City celebrate the anniversary of the movement's founding, Dec. 31, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

In recent weeks, Israel’s War Cabinet approved enlisting the help of Gaza residents affiliated with the Palestinian Authority ruling Fatah movement to secure the entry of humanitarian aid into the Strip and prevent theft by Hamas.

The move involves both Gazan security personnel linked to Fatah and the Palestinian Red Crescent aid group. Israel coordinated this effort with Majed Faraj, the head of the P.A.’s General Intelligence Service.

Just this past Sunday, these Fatah-affiliated elements secured the entry of trucks carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza City. According to Israeli security sources, the personnel were armed only with batons and no firearms. Reports from Gaza indicate some of them were killed by Hamas members during the operation.

Three weeks earlier, journalist Suleiman Maswadeh reported that in closed discussions, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant suggested that Faraj was someone who could be temporarily appointed to oversee civilian life for Gaza’s residents and secure humanitarian aid deliveries. Faraj is considered a close ally of Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas.

The collaboration with Fatah seems to run against statements from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said repeatedly that in the aftermath of the current Gaza war, there will be no “Hamastan” or “Fatahstan” governing the territory. Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected any entry of the Palestinian Authority into Gaza after hostilities conclude. Yet contrary to his public stance, the War Cabinet approved enlisting Gaza’s Fatah elements in cooperation with the P.A.

However, the fact that Hamas managed to kill some of the Fatah personnel brought in to secure aid underscores Netanyahu’s claim that as long as Hamas maintains control, it will not be possible to transfer governing authority in Gaza to any other group.

One security official told Israel Hayom, “Netanyahu opposes the entry of Fatah on the day after, but not now when the IDF is inside the Strip. It is preferable to position local elements at the forefront to secure the convoys.”

Adding to the contradictions, Gallant recently told the War Cabinet that rule by local Palestinian elements in Gaza should be promoted, “even if they look towards Ramallah from time to time.”

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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