Saturday, May 25, 2024

Israel weighing sharing power with US, Arab states in postwar Gaza: Report

Tel Aviv could offer to share control over the Gaza Strip with the US and a coalition of Arab nations, after the current devastating war against the besieged enclave ends, the New York Times has reported, citing officials.

In a report, the newspaper cited anonymous sources who claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is avoiding detailed public discussions about Gaza’s post-war future, but that behind the scenes officials have been developing an “expansive plan”.

Three Israeli officials, and five people who have discussed the proposal with the Israeli government, told the daily that Israel would offer to share oversight of Gaza with the US and three Arab countries – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the sources, Israel would do so in exchange for a normalization of ties with Saudi Arabia.

Under the plan, local leaders in Gaza, who would be tasked with rebuilding the territory, reforming its education system and maintaining order, would to be appointed by Israel and the Arab nations in cooperation with Washington.

After seven to ten years, people in the enclave would be allowed to vote on whether to be absorbed into a united Palestinian administration that would control both the West Bank and Gaza, according to the proposal.

The NYT stressed that the plan does not specify whether this united administration would constitute a sovereign Palestinian state. Netanyahu has publicly rejected a two-state solution, despite such a path being supported by many world powers, including Israel’s key ally, the US.

The proposal also states the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) can continue to operate inside Gaza after the conflict with Palestinian armed group Hamas concludes, the officials added.

The NYT report comes amid intensified international efforts to persuade the sides to reach a ceasefire, which could pave the way for a permanent truce in Gaza.

Israel launched its military operation in the Palestinian enclave in response to the October 7 cross-border attack by Hamas, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage. According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than 34,600 Palestinians have so far been killed and 77,900 others wounded in the IDF’s airstrikes and ground offensive.

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