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PA envisions ruling Gaza with Hamas as a partner

U.S. officials visited Ramallah earlier this week to discuss a plan for the day after the war in Gaza.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (left) meets with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Feb. 23, 2012. Photo by Mohammed al-Hums/Flash90.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (left) meets with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Feb. 23, 2012. Photo by Mohammed al-Hums/Flash90.

The Palestinian Authority’s preferred outcome of the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip would be for the terrorist organization to join a P.A.-led governing body as a junior partner, Bloomberg quoted P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh as saying on Friday.

“Hamas before Oct. 7 is one thing, and after is another. … What is needed really is a situation in which Palestinian unity should be allowed to function on very clear bonds and agenda,” Shtayyeh told the outlet.

“Therefore, I think, if they are ready to come to an agreement, and really accept the political platform of the PLO, accept the tools of struggle … there will be room for talks,” he said, adding that “Palestinians should not be divided.

“For Israel to say that they are going to eradicate or eliminate Hamas, I don’t think that’s a possible goal to achieve, simply because Hamas is not in Gaza only. Hamas is in Lebanon, everybody knows Hamas leadership is in Qatar and they are here in the West Bank,” said Shtayyeh.

When asked by Bloomberg to condemn Hamas’s Oct. 7 slaughter of more than 1,200 people in Israel, Shtayyeh refused, claiming the conflict didn’t begin on that date and Israeli officials have failed to speak out against “things done by their citizens to Palestinians.”

On Oct. 21, Shtayyeh likewise refused to condemn Hamas’s crimes against humanity, telling CNN‘s Becky Anderson that “what has happened yesterday is yesterday.”

According to Shtayyeh, U.S. officials visited Ramallah earlier this week to discuss a plan for the day after the war in Gaza. He claimed both sides agreed that Israel shouldn’t occupy the coastal enclave, reduce its territory for a security zone, or resettle its residents.

Early last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Gaza must be handed over to the P.A. at the end of hostilities. The solution “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the P.A.,” stated Blinken.

U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby has clarified that Washington seeks to back a P.A. that “has the support of all Palestinians so that they can effectively help with post-conflict governance, particularly in Gaza.”

According to a recent survey, 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas. Only around 8.5% said they favor an authority controlled exclusively by P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.

A spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem subsequently told JNS that the future of the Palestinian leadership is “a question for the Palestinian people.”

“Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza—unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority,” the spokesperson stated. “We continue to believe that a negotiated two-state solution along the 1967 lines with mutually agreed-to swaps is the best way to advance a sustainable peace.

“Beyond any military operation, defeating Hamas requires defeating an idea, which is why it is critical to present a clear vision of a better future and a path to achieve that vision,” the spokesperson concluded.

Hamas, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, won the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in a January 2006 election and most observers believe that it would again defeat Abbas if he ever called another vote.

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