Wed 28 Feb 2024 7:56 am - Jerusalem Time

Palestinian Authority is preparing to administer Gaza day after Israel's war: analysts

The resignation of the Shtayyeh government came ahead of a meeting that will get together all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, in Moscow.

Several Palestinian analysts believe that the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is preparing itself to take over the administration of the besieged war-torn coastal enclave the day after Israel ends its bloody war on Gaza.   Speaking to The New Arab, the Palestinian analysts argue that "Israel is on the verge of ending its fierce war on the Gaza Strip (...), but it is looking for an alternative to Hamas to manage Gaza."  "The new power in Gaza should not be involved in any activities against Israel or even try to threaten its existence in the region," the analysts noted.   In a bid to save Gaza from Israeli threats, particularly a direct re-occupation of the enclave, the Palestinian Authority is accelerating preparations to administer Gaza by establishing a technocratic government recognised internationally and by Israel, which will arrange the conditions in the besieged Strip, the analysts explained. 

On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of the Palestinian government headed by Mohammed Shtayyeh, issuing a decree assigning him as prime minister to conduct business until a new government is formed.  During his weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said that the decision comes in light of "the political, security and economic developments related to the Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip and the unprecedented escalation in the West Bank, including the city of Jerusalem."  "The next stage and its challenges require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the new reality in Gaza and the urgent need for a Palestinian consensus, based on a national basis, broad participation, unity of ranks and to extend the authority of the Authority over the entire land of Palestine," Shtayyeh added.  "Things have become clearer now, especially since the radical changes in the Palestinian Authority and the reforms it is implementing come from political arrangements to prepare for the day after the war on Gaza," Ahmed Awad, a Ramallah-based Palestinian analyst, remarked to TNA.   To alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and achieve Palestinian political goals that may lead to the declaration of the State of Palestine and the establishment of an internationally recognised entity, the Palestinian Authority is preparing to take over the administration of Gaza in the next stage, Awad argues.   The PA can only achieve this by rearranging the internal Palestinian house and forming a new government of qualified people (not involved in any military actions) to manage Gaza, which needs years of restoration and reconstruction and preparation for holding Palestinian elections, he said.

For his part, Talal Okal, a Gaza-based Palestinian analyst, anticipates that Hamas will be integrated into the PLO and that it will also have a share in the next government after waging a fierce war with Israel that managed to inflict heavy losses on the Israeli army.  "The locals in Gaza need to alleviate the burden of the disaster that is befalling the people of Gaza. In addition, Hamas needs to stop the war and complete the deal to liberate the Palestinian prisoners, but it will not agree to a deal that leads to a temporary truce, even if it is for a few weeks or months," Okal remarked to TNA.   "Therefore, the United States, which is the main sponsor of Israel, is rushing to reach a temporary ceasefire that may be extended if the negotiations succeed in bridging the gap between Hamas and Israel," Okal added.  "Currently, the decision is basically up to the US administration, as Netanyahu cannot resist any longer, especially since the extremists in his government do not stop insulting Biden and his administration," he further said. 

As a result, Okal believed that reaching a satisfactory deal for both the Israeli and Palestinian parties would not be easy, and "it will most likely take more time, but it will happen in the end."

However, he stressed, "The cessation of war, whatever the form of this cessation, does not mean the cessation of the conflict. The difficult questions regarding the next day are many and dangerous."  Therefore, Okal asserts that it is crucial to stop the war because it constitutes an opportunity for the Palestinians to rebuild their political system without the illusion of excluding anyone, which will further the end of Israel's apartheid regime.  He continued that the next stage would be forming a new government of qualified people to restore and rebuild Gaza, prepare for Palestinian elections, and implement administrative, health, and legal reforms within the Palestinian Authority.

He considered that this would have significant effects on the Palestinian people and could be an end to the internal division and block Israel's plans to geographically isolate Gaza, the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem from each other.   The Shtayyeh government is the 18th since the founding of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. It was formed in April 2019 by presidential decree and was entrusted with Palestinian reconciliation and preparing for the elections, which were subsequently postponed.  The government represented a political coalition that included forces from the Palestine Liberation Organization factions: the Fatah Movement, the Palestinian People's Party, the Feda Party, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front and independent figures.  "The resignation of the Palestinian government is in anticipation of a comprehensive ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip," Khalil Shaheen, a Ramallah-based Palestinian political analyst, said to TNA. 

Shaheen added that the resignation of the Shtayyeh government would pave the way for a new government of competent people to extend its control in the occupied West Bank and prepare for the day after the war on Gaza.  He explained that the current Palestinian situation needs a competent government to take charge and for there to be international confidence, stressing the need for all Palestinian factions to agree on this before it is too late.  The resignation of the Shtayyeh government came ahead of a meeting that brings together all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, in Moscow at a Russian invitation in the coming few days.  Shaheen stressed that the Palestinian factions must be aware of the seriousness of the current stage and the necessity of reaching some formula because the Palestinian people in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank are in danger.


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Palestinian Authority is preparing to administer Gaza day after Israel's war: analysts