Israeli soldiers operating in northern Gaza Strip on November 11. Photo: IDF

In the aftermath of conflict, the critical question looms: Who Will Govern Gaza Post-War? The US and Israel are grappling with this challenge, searching for a reliable partner to ensure stability in the region. Let’s delve into the potential contenders and the intricate web of geopolitical considerations.

US-Israel Collaboration: Seeking a Sturdy Successor

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to Israel and the West Bank underscores the urgency of finding a competent entity to govern Gaza post-war. While Israel remains committed to dismantling Hamas’s control, a clear blueprint for the successor is notably absent.

The Palestinian Authority: A Complex Choice

Washington leans towards transferring control to the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Hamas’s defeat. President Mahmoud Abbas’s government is envisioned as the linchpin for Gaza’s reconstruction, with an eye on long-term integration into a unified Palestinian state.

Who Will Govern Gaza Post-War?
People sit amid the ruins of a house attacked by Israel in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on November 22. Photo: AFP

Yet, this path is strewn with challenges. The PA’s historical influence waned after withdrawing from Gaza 16 years ago, yielding ground to the ascendant Hamas. Critics argue that the PA’s efficacy in the West Bank has diminished, casting doubts on its ability to navigate the complex socio-political landscape of Gaza.

Hamas: Entrenched Power vs. Public Support

Hamas, firmly rooted in Gaza for over a decade, holds sway across various facets of life. From political bureaucracy to security apparatus, its influence is pervasive. Despite external pressures, a substantial portion of the Palestinian population backs Hamas, viewing its confrontational stance against Israel as yielding tangible results.

Diplomatic Dilemmas: NATO, UN, and Arab Nations

Proposals involving NATO or UN intervention face inherent challenges. NATO’s involvement risks being perceived as Western intervention, while the UN’s historical role hasn’t sufficiently swayed Hamas towards peaceful resolutions.

A noteworthy suggestion comes from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, proposing a “Gaza Reconstruction Authority” backed by Arab heavyweights like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. However, this option is marred by reluctance from Arab nations to deploy troops and risk being seen as occupiers.

The Hybrid Approach: Navigating Complex Realities

Experts posit a dual-strategy approach, amalgamating robust support for the PA with involvement from Arab nations. The US aims to empower the PA, potentially leading to a fully autonomous Palestinian state. Secretary Blinken’s emphasis on supporting PA reform programs underscores this commitment.

While acknowledging the formidable challenges ahead, Secretary Blinken asserts that neglecting this process could result in a resurgence of violence, perpetuating the suffering of civilians. The path to a new government is fraught with disagreements, but the US remains resolute in its pursuit.