update deskIsrael at War

US: Palestinian Authority currently unfit to govern Gaza

Jerusalem has been "receptive to our messages here in terms of trying to minimize civilian casualties," added spokesman John Kirby.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, on Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, on Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

The Palestinian Authority is currently unfit to govern a post-Hamas Gaza Strip, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Sunday.

During an interview with ABC “This Week,” anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Kirby about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the P.A. playing any future role in Gaza due to its support for terrorism and promotion of Jew-hatred.

“What [Netanyahu] said was right now you’ve got an unreformed P.A. And that’s unacceptable to him. I would tell you that’s unacceptable to us too. We don’t believe the P.A. is in a position right now to be in—a credible control of governance in Gaza,” said Kirby.

He added that the administration wants a “reformed and revitalized Palestinian Authority” helping to govern the Strip.

“But whatever it looks like, and I’m not saying it has to be just the Palestinian Authority. We think that they should have a role, certainly. Whatever it looks like, though, George, it’s got to be responsive and representative of the Palestinian people, and certainly Hamas is not that,” he added.

Kirby also said that Jerusalem had been “receptive to our messages here in terms of trying to minimize civilian casualties.

“And I would tell you,” he continued, “we saw that as they went into north Gaza. They did it in a more precise way, a smaller way. And just in the last 24, 48 hours, George, they published online a map of places where people could go to avoid combat, and where they could go where they could find safety from combat.

“There’s not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that. I mean that you know, so, to telegraph their punches in that way. So, they are making an effort,” added the spokesman.

Kirby was asked if he expected the IDF to expand its ground operation to southern Gaza.

“Well, I won’t get ahead of the Israelis. They’ve got to speak to their military operations. And I certainly would say nothing on TV that would violate their operational security.

“But, again, we’ve urged them to, as they go south, we’ve said—we’ve said publicly, we don’t want to see them moving into the south unless or until they have accounted for that additional new civilian population, because they moved folks out of the north into the south, hundreds of thousands of them. We want to make sure that they’re properly accounted for.

“And again, them publishing this map online and dropping leaflets and informing people of where not to go, I mean that is a step in the right direction,” said Kirby.

Army Radio reported on Sunday afternoon that the Israeli military has launched a ground offensive in the southern Gaza Strip, near the city of Khan Yunis.

Israeli troops faced heavy ground battles near Khan Yunis on Saturday after intelligence showed Hamas leaders entrenching in the city, the second-largest urban area in the Gaza Strip after Gaza City, Channel 12 reported.

Kirby also said that the Biden administration would continue to pursue a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“[The president] still believes that we’ve got to have an independent state for the Palestinian people so that they can live in peace, justice and security. He’s not giving up on that effort. And we’re going to continue, as an administration, to continue to pursue that,” said Kirby.

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