The Biden administration wants the Palestinian Authority to govern the Gaza Strip after Israel finishes vanquishing Hamas—the same P.A. that has proven, over the course of 30 years, that it is incapable of governing the Palestinians or preparing them to live side-by-side in peace with Israel.
In fact, the Biden administration could as well recommend that Hamas remain in power in Gaza, since the Islamist terrorist group and the P.A. have similar goals and attributes. Both support the destruction of Israel. Both teach Palestinians to hate and kill Jews. Both lack democratic legitimacy.
Perhaps more importantly, both Hamas and the P.A. corruptly exploit foreign aid—including billions of American taxpayers’ dollars—not to improve the lives of Palestinians, but to enrich themselves and finance the slaughter of Jews.
Moreover, the P.A. is unwilling and unable to fulfill reasonable prerequisites for “the day after” in Gaza—demilitarization and deradicalization. Under P.A. rule, rogue armed factions have flourished, which is why Israel almost daily has to conduct military operations in P.A. territory—disarming terrorists and removing their threat to Israeli civilians.
Finally, the P.A. cannot be trusted to deradicalize Palestinians—neither those under its direct control in Judea and Samaria nor those in Gaza. In fact, since its inception, P.A. institutions have served to indoctrinate Palestinians in jihadism, antisemitism and terrorism. Before nominating the P.A. for the huge task of reforming a devastated Gaza, the United States would be better served helping the P.A. reform itself and its own people.
Any future entity that governs the Gaza Strip must agree to peace and security with Israel, including the following:
1. Recognition of Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
2. No “right of return” for the descendants of Palestinian refugees, as granting this would put an end to Israel’s Jewish majority, and therefore, the Jewish state itself.
3. No more advocacy for or actions undertaken with the intention of destroying the State of Israel or harming Jews.
4. The Palestinians will only achieve independence through negotiations with Israel.
Even if the P.A. agreed to these requirements—which it has not and likely never would—there are abundant reasons to disqualify the P.A. as a champion of Gaza’s renewal.
The PA has never shown it can govern in an orderly fashion using rule of law. For starters, it shuns democratic processes. There have been no elections since 2006. P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is now in the 19th year of the four-year term for which he was elected. The Palestinian parliament has not functioned since 2007. Human rights and civil liberties are flagrantly violated.
P.A. institutions simply don’t work. For example, the Palestinian justice system has so little credibility that P.A. residents now resort to “tribal” justice to settle disputes, instead of the P.A. courts—a phenomenon that human rights groups say does not provide for fair trials, discriminates against women and imposes collective punishment.
Corruption in the P.A. is rampant. Analyst Joseph Epstein, writing for Newsweek, notes that while ordinary Palestinians struggle with unemployment, P.A. officials live in mansions. Even during cutbacks, the P.A. found the money to purchase a $50 million private plane for Abbas. Abbas’s sons, Tareq and Yasser, own a multimillion-dollar business empire, while the average daily wage in the P.A. is just over $30.
Epstein argues, correctly, that the P.A. leadership has learned over the years that by keeping its subjects as underdeveloped and radicalized as possible, they can attract more foreign aid, then embezzle it. In his words, “For the Palestinian cause to remain relevant and profitable, the Palestinians must be as miserable as possible.”
The P.A. cannot even maintain control of the territory assigned to it by the Oslo Accords. In 2007, the P.A. lost total control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas. Over the last year or two, the P.A. has been steadily losing control of Samaria, aka the northern West Bank. Jenin in particular has largely fallen under the control of armed groups, which have been orchestrating terrorist attacks on Israelis.
With the rampant corruption, dysfunctionality and lack of accountability that characterize the P.A., it’s no surprise that just 17% of Palestinians are satisfied with Abbas’s rule and 63% believe the P.A. is a burden on the Palestinian people.
Both the PA and Hamas agree on one fundamental principle: Israel must be destroyed. Like Hamas, the P.A. promotes the lie that the Jews “stole” Palestine. None of what the P.A. preaches, whether in its school textbooks or its media, promotes peaceful coexistence with the Jews and Israel.
The P.A., like Hamas, encourages Palestinians to hate and kill Jews. It’s no accident that the P.A. and Hamas use the same textbooks to teach children—textbooks that promote the same revolutionary ideology of jihadism, antisemitism and terrorism espoused by both entities. The P.A. also financially incentivizes the slaughter of Jewish people through its “pay-for-slay” policy, which provides generous salaries to terrorists who kill Jews—including 661 terrorists who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre.
The only difference between the P.A. and Hamas is that the former pays lip service to the two-state solution, while the latter openly declares its intention to wipe Israel off the map. In reality, both entities share the same goal: Elimination of the Jewish state. No surprise the P.A. has rejected numerous offers of peace and statehood by Israel.
By nominating the P.A. to govern the Gaza Strip after Israel destroys Hamas, the Biden administration is condemning the Gazans to a future just as repressive as their present.
Palestinians of Gaza deserve better than tyranny: They deserve democracy and rule of law. They need to shed corruption, unemployment, poverty and an education system that guarantees a future with no hope for peace. Finally, they should be liberated from the endless, futile conflict with Israel that leads only to misery, for both Israelis and Palestinians. In short, the last thing the Gazans need is the P.A. dictatorship.
Originally published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East.