March 29, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Weighs Funding Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Gaza

March 29, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S. Weighs Funding Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Gaza

Latest Developments

The Biden administration is deliberating options for post-war Gaza, including possibly funding a peacekeeping force in the enclave, senior U.S. officials told Politico in a March 28 report. According to one of the unnamed officials, Washington is “working with partners on various scenarios for interim governance and security structures in Gaza.” In one scenario, the Pentagon would help fund a multinational peacekeeping force that would not include U.S. troops. U.S. funding would go towards “reconstruction, infrastructure, humanitarian assistance, and other needs” and would “supplement contributions from other countries,” Politico reported, citing U.S. officials.

An anonymous Defense Department official said that the Biden administration has “had conversations on the margins with regional partners” about what those governments would be willing to contribute to the force but that the plan has not received significant consideration from the Israelis. The White House, State Department, and Defense Department are all reportedly involved in the private talks.

Expert Analysis

“Day after planning for Gaza is essential, but the path forward is full of unanswered questions and serious pitfalls. Who will want to put their troops into Gaza as peacekeepers if Hamas continues to operate there conducting an insurgency? If we want to have a better chance for a better day after, then give Israel the time, space, and means to defeat Hamas first. Any attempt to install a peacekeeping force in Gaza before Hamas is soundly defeated would be courting disaster.” Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“Judging by the 2006 expansion of Lebanon’s peacekeeping UNIFIL force that failed miserably in achieving any of its missions, one must look with skepticism at a similar force that might be deployed in Gaza. Unless Israel can find reliable Palestinian partners that can keep the peace, it is unlikely that alien troops can do the job despite the generous funding that global powers are willing to make available.” — Hussain Abdul-Hussain, FDD Research Fellow

“The UN can’t be trusted to handle this. Members of the PA security forces are committing terrorist attacks. Qatari and Turkish involvement are non-starters. The Saudis and Emiratis might fund it, but would they actually send anyone? Would Egypt? Who will fund, who will participate, who will coordinate, and on what timetable remain key unanswered questions.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Israeli Plans for Post-War Gaza

In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a plan for post-war Gaza that envisioned Israel retaining security control with “local officials” unaffiliated with terrorist groups in charge of civil affairs. The plan also involves replacing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency with “responsible international aid organizations.”

Washington has repeatedly said that a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority (PA) should govern post-war Gaza. But concerns remain over the PA’s ability to govern an independent Palestinian state. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is in the 20th year of a four-year term, has presided over a corrupt and ineffective government that has lost legitimacy among the Palestinian people. The PA also continues to provide controversial welfare payments for Palestinian terrorists or their surviving families and allows Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups to operate in the West Bank without significant limitations. Netanyahu previously ruled out the PA retaking control of Gaza, stating during a November press conference that “there isn’t going to be in Gaza a civilian authority that teaches its children to hate Israel and to destroy Israel.”

Peacekeeping Failures in Lebanon

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) constitutes an example of how another multinational peacekeeping force in the region has failed to achieve its mission. UNIFIL is tasked with securing the Israel-Lebanon border and helping the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) establish “an area free of any armed personnel, assets, and weapons” south of the Litani River, as stipulated in its UN mandate. However, UNIFIL’s 10,000 peacekeepers from 49 countries have looked the other way as Iran-backed Hezbollah’s arsenal has grown to an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles. Since October 7, UNIFIL has failed to prevent Hezbollah from attacking Israel from southern Lebanon.

UNIFIL has also refrained from standing up to the LAF, which has repeatedly blocked the peacekeeping mission from fulfilling its mandate. According to the Israeli military, the LAF limits UNIFIL’s access to “illicit sites,” concealing Hezbollah’s “prohibited military operations.”

10 Things to Know About UNIFIL,” FDD Insight

Israel Prime Minister Presents Plan for Post-War Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. and Arab Partners Plan for Palestinian Statehood,” FDD Flash Brief

After Hamas is destroyed, here are the five things that must not happen in Gaza,” by Richard Goldberg

Missing the Mark: Reassessing U.S. Military Aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces,” by David Kilcullen


International Organizations Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy