November 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Blinken Probes Abbas on PA Role for Gaza

November 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Blinken Probes Abbas on PA Role for Gaza

Latest Developments

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a brief visit to Ramallah on November 5 to discuss developments in Gaza and a possible role for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in post-war Gaza. The top U.S. diplomat was on his second trouble-shooting tour of the Middle East since the war erupted on October 7, landing unannounced in Israel and traveling overland to the West Bank, where he was received by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The meeting lasted about an hour. According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, describing Israel’s counter-offensive as a “genocidal war.” Abbas further reaffirmed that the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which he heads, “is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and has the authority over all matters concerning the Palestinian people.”

According to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to delivering humanitarian assistance and the resumption of essential services in Gaza and “made clear that Palestinians must not be forcibly displaced.” A senior State Department official told Reuters that Blinken also told Abbas that the PA should play a central role in Gaza after the war ends, and the PA seemed accommodating on the issue.

Expert Analysis

“The Palestinians have been plagued by terrible leaders for over a century who have brought nothing but misery, corruption, and destruction. Abbas is an octogenarian who rules by decree in the West Bank after losing control of Gaza to Hamas 16 years ago. If the Biden administration sincerely sees a possible return of the PA to Gaza, it would be better off spending its time in Ramallah and working closely with the Saudis and Emiratis to assess possible successors to Abbas.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The prospect of Hamas’s destruction by Israel could spell a domestic reprieve for Abbas, who has seen his popularity in the West Bank sapped by Islamists and their armed allies. The question is whether he, or whoever follows him at the head of the PA, can parlay that into the powerbase needed to reassume control of a Hamas dominated, war-ravaged Gaza.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hamas Attacks Israeli Soldiers as the IDF Prepares Safe Passage for Gazans on Main Highway,” FDD Flash Brief

Blinken Calls for ‘Pauses’ in Gaza War,” FDD Flash Brief

Israeli Forces Tighten Net Around Hamas in Gaza City,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics