November 25, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Sidesteps Gaza Governance

November 25, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Sidesteps Gaza Governance

Latest Developments

U.S. and European officials have been pushing Israel to consider having the Palestinian Authority (PA) govern the Gaza Strip if Israel removes Hamas from power. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has previously called for the PA to be involved in Gaza, is expected to travel to Israel next week for his fourth visit to the Jewish state since the start of the war. For now, both Israel and the United States agree that Hamas cannot remain in control of the coastal enclave, but Israeli officials are casting doubt on whether a revitalized PA leadership in Gaza is the way forward.

Likewise, PA officials have met calls for them to govern Gaza with skepticism, knowing that its authority among Gazans would be strained if it were seen as assuming power at the behest of the United States and the acquiescence of Israel.

Expert Analysis

“The problem of Palestinians never assuming responsibility for their own government is a chronic one and is still on display today. Instead of grasping the opportunity of the reset that Israel’s decimation of Hamas offers them in Gaza, Palestinians, and with them the world, expect Israel to present a post-Hamas plan at a time when we know that whatever Israel offers will be construed as a conspiracy against Palestinians.” — Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow

“The present state of the Palestinian Authority raises serious concerns about its ability to effectively govern both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, particularly in the aftermath of a significant conflict. The culmination of years of corruption, inadequate adherence to the rule of law, and mounting violations of human rights have greatly diminished the credibility and effectiveness of the Palestinian Authority in the eyes of the Palestinian population.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Biden and Netanyahu Disagree

President Joe Biden wrote in an op-ed published on November 18 in The Washington Post, “Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution.”

On November 11, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ruled out the PA retaking control of Gaza. “There isn’t going to be in Gaza a civilian authority that teaches its children to hate Israel and to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said during a press conference. “We can’t have an authority that pays families of terrorists … and it can’t be an authority that the person who is heading it hasn’t condemned the October 7 massacre.”

Palestinian Reluctance

Iran-backed Hamas expelled the PA from the Gaza Strip in 2007 after a bloody civil war. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is in the 19th year of a four-year term, has presided over a corrupt and ineffective government that has lost legitimacy among the Palestinian people. The PA is unable to govern large parts of the West Bank where terrorist groups have flourished, leading to near-nightly raids by Israeli forces before October 7. On November 10, Abbas told Blinken that the PA would govern Gaza only as part of a comprehensive deal that includes the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. Muhammad Dahlan, the PA’s former security chief in Gaza, said that he would not accept a role governing Gaza.

Palestinians don’t want to govern Gaza — here’s why,” by Hussain Abdul-Hussain

Palestinian Terrorists Storm Israeli Checkpoint Near Jerusalem,” FDD Flash Brief 

No Incentives for Terrorism: U.S. Implementation of the Taylor Force Act and Efforts to Stop ‘Pay to Slay,’” by Jonathan Schanzer


Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics