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The Palestinian Authority in Gaza, a contested plan | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Aged 88, Mahmoud Abbas came to power in Palestine in 2005.


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Once the conflict in the Middle East has calmed down, the United States wants control of the Gaza Strip to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority. This plan, however, is not unanimous among Palestinians and is criticized by experts.

With a view to a two-state solution, US President Joe Biden recently said, in a post published in the Washington Post, that “Gaza and the West Bank should be brought together under a single governance structure” led by the Palestinian Authority.

His Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, makes the same speech, and even seems to make it an essential condition for an end to the crisis.

Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro is far from convinced that this option is desirable.

The main problem with the Palestinian Authority is corruption. Lots of corruption, no elections or democracy, and human rights violations, he explained in an interview with CBC.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Several Palestinians in the West Bank, which has been governed by the Palestinian Authority for more than 30 years, share Issa Amro's opinion.

Despite everything , the United States and other countries believe that it is the ideal alternative to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Because the Palestinian Authority is accused by many of being autocratic, corrupt and ineffective, Middle East experts wonder what role it could play in the Gaza Strip after the conflict.

Its capacity to govern in the West Bank, whether for security or civil matters, is very limited, explains Ghaith al-Omari, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

So if it can't govern the West Bank, can we expect it to govern Gaza? he asks.

The Palestinian Authority was established in 1990 with the Oslo peace accords. It was entrusted with control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the administration of health, education and security services. Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 after a landslide victory in legislative elections.

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Hamas supporters during a recent demonstration in support of the Gaza Strip.

According to Ghaith al-Omari, support for Hamas came in part from Palestinian discontent with the Palestinian Authority. His authoritarian style, his way of distributing jobs in exchange for favors and his use of public funds to enrich his representatives were denounced.

Imad Harb, director research and analyst at the Arab Center Washington D.C., doubts that the Palestinian Authority today has the legitimacy necessary to rule the Gaza Strip.

You did not provide the services in the West Bank so why would you be trusted to provide the services in Gaza?, he said to express the point of view of many Palestinians.

You failed to provide security and protection to the Palestinian people in the West Bank, so why would anyone trust you in Gaza?

The Palestinian Authority's ability to manage post-war Gaza is also called into question given the party's internal problems and the extent of the devastation in the territory from which it has been absent for 16 years. /p>Open in full screen mode

Target of constant attacks by the Israeli army since October 7, the Gaza Strip is today today a devastated area.

With infrastructure completely destroyed and more than 70 percent of the population displaced, the challenges for the next government in Gaza will be immense, says Dov Waxman, director of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies in California.

Considering the Palestinian Authority's capabilities, one must ask whether it can accomplish a task of this magnitude, Waxman said.

Another element that undermines the Palestinian Authority in the population is its relationship with the Israeli Defense Forces and its proximity to the Israeli government, al Omari argues.

The Israeli army and intelligence services are the main advisors of the Palestinian Authority within the Israeli system, because they see it as a partner. They see it [the Palestinian Authority] as essential to Israel's security.

Popular discontent with the Palestinian Authority has led to the erosion of support for its leader, Mahmoud Abbas. According to a recent poll, almost 80% of Palestinians want him to resign.

Aged 88, Mahmoud Abbas came to power in 2005. No elections presidential election has not taken place since.

Another significant obstacle to the new governance plan for the Gaza Strip is the Israeli government, which is reluctant to see the Palestinian Authority expand its influence in the region, says Dov Waxman of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.

He explains that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been working for years to disconnect the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. For him, the Palestinian Authority is just another enemy.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The resumption of the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Authority would mean the reunification of the Palestinian territory. This is something that goes against the policy that Netanyahu has championed for over 10 years. I don't see Netanyahu changing course on this, says Dov Waxman.

According to him, the ultranationalists in Netanyahu's government will do everything to prevent a strengthening of the Palestinian Authority's position in the region.

– Based on CBC reporting Mark Gollom


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