Fri 24 May 2024 2:45 pm - Jerusalem Time

Newspaper: The United States is preparing to play a “prominent” role the day after the Gaza war

Politico newspaper revealed that the administration of US President Joe Biden is considering appointing an American official to be the chief civilian advisor to a mostly Palestinian force when the conflict between Israel and Hamas ends, as four American officials told the site, indicating that the United States plans to participate significantly in securing the phase. Post-war in Gaza.

The sources told the newspaper that the civilian advisor will be based in the region and will work closely with the force commander, who will be either Palestinian or from an Arab country.

Washington is still discussing how much formal authority this advisor will have, but all the officials, who granted anonymity to talk about the details of the highly sensitive discussions, confirmed that this is part of “a plan for the United States to play a “prominent” role in pulling Gaza out of desperate chaos” according to the newspaper.

Private discussions between the White House, Pentagon and State Department about the adviser's role — which have not been previously reported — show that the Biden administration expects to be at the center of what happens to Gaza long after the din of war has subsided. Thus, the United States will be partly responsible for what comes next, including improving the lives of 2.2 million Palestinians suffering in the devastated lands.

The officials said the advisor would never enter Gaza itself, an indication of a desire to avoid any suggestion that the United States would dictate the future of the Strip.

Two officials told Politico that the advisor may be stationed in Sinai, while another said he may be in Jordan. The proposal of the Chancellor and the peacekeeping force has also been circulated in secret discussions for months.

The United States is playing a major role in the war, as the Biden administration fully supports the Israeli war on Gaza, while trying to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza. Now, during an intense planning phase, the administration is bringing together multiple partners inside and outside the United States to come together on ideas for stabilizing Gaza after the war — that is, maintaining security and avoiding a prolonged guerrilla war against Israel that could plunge the Strip into further turmoil.

The four officials said the advisor's plan is one of several "day after" scenarios that have been put forward, which include others focused on developing Gaza's economy and rebuilding destroyed cities. While many plans include some kind of peacekeeping force, discussions remain heated about its formation and the powers it would be given.

“We've talked about a number of different versions of some sort of interim security force in Gaza, and we've talked with a lot of partners about how the United States can support that with all our capabilities,” a senior administration official said, according to Boiteko. From outside Gaza.”

The officials added that a ceasefire and the return of the hostages must come first, which is difficult as negotiations between Israel and Hamas have stalled with no sign of resumption.

A second official said that the Biden administration is trying to convince Arab countries such as Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates to join the peacekeeping force, as countries in the region constantly demand that the United States have a heavy hand in Gaza’s future after the war. The official said about what the Arab countries want from the United States: “It will be easier to convince them to come if we are there playing a role, and we are ready to play this role.”

The official added that there is also a broad agreement between the United States, Israel and regional actors to help form a Palestinian council that includes Palestinians from Gaza to serve as an interim governance structure. Spain, Ireland and Norway plan to recognize such a state next week, an unmistakable sign that there is growing interest among US allies to push for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.

According to the newspaper, the official said: “Israel should also support the establishment of the force in Gaza, which is a difficult sell, as Netanyahu and his far-right government oppose anything that bears the trappings of a Palestinian state. However, it is not clear what the alternative is, as all agreed Officials stressed that the desperate conditions in Gaza required a peacekeeping force.

A third official added that recent talks with Israel and Middle Eastern partners addressed “how to move to a phase, politically, and a phase of stability” after the end of the war. “We are presenting our ideas and concepts based on the very broad and in-depth consultations we are conducting across the region on this issue.”

The current planning is similar to ideas for a civilian adviser and peacekeeping force that were floated in a classified State Department paper obtained by Politico.

In a March document marked “secret” and not for the eyes of foreign officials, the State Department proposed forming a temporary security mission for Gaza. The security mission “could be a hybrid police-gendarme model,” according to the document, referring to the Italian law enforcement group responsible for internal security. “The State Department recommends that this mission be classified as a security mission and not a military force.”

Such a plan is still regularly discussed and factors into current thinking about post-war Gaza, the officials said.

The document was clear that the TSMG “should not be a US-led mission” in part because it “is likely to face fierce resistance from the Palestinian people in light of US support for the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.” Instead, it should feature “strong Palestinian participation” – nearly 2,000 members – plus another 1,000 from Arabic-speaking countries.

According to the magazine, the force will be led by “an appropriate senior officer from Israel, Egypt or the Palestinian Authority.” Ideally, Egypt would agree to be the "Arab commander" of the force. Once a commander is identified, the state will be responsible for “the authorization, composition and duration of deployment of the TSMG.”

The United States will not send forces to Gaza, but the document proposes appointing an American civilian as “director general” to coordinate with Israel and help train and advise force members. Washington will also provide intelligence support against threats, especially from Hamas and other militants in Gaza.

The force will start small in a “limited area of responsibility” initially focusing on “key humanitarian assistance centers” and then “gradually expand.”

“The ultimate geographic scope of the TSMG mission will be throughout Gaza,” the document stated.

“We do not comment on alleged leaked documents, which often do not reflect the prevailing situation in any particular case at the Ministry,” said Vedant Patel, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.


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Newspaper: The United States is preparing to play a “prominent” role the day after the Gaza war