The Kabul Times.
World

US emphasis on PA in Gaza reconstruction risks ‘backfire’

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has completed a tour of the Middle East, promising to work towards “equality” for Palestinians, while assuring Israel that its longtime support would remain unwavering following an 11-day escalation with Hamas, the Palestinian faction that runs the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Biden administration has said the US would “partner” with the Palestinian Authority (PA), along with the United Nations, Egypt and Gulf countries, to funnel aid to Gaza, promising to “work with our partners closely … to ensure that Hamas does not benefit” from the $360m it pledged for reconstruction and Palestinian development.
While the PA governs parts of the occupied West Bank, some observers have questioned the US emphasis on dealing with the governing body. Fatah showed solid support over Hamas in March polls, but that was before President Mahmoud Abbas again postponed elections in April, a move that was met with outcry.
The PA was later accused of inaction amid protests over the forced expulsion of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem and the crackdowns by Israeli security forces at the Al- Aqsa Mosque compound. The site is revered by Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
After an Israeli police crackdown at the site left hundreds of Palestinians wounded on May 10, Hamas issued an ultimatum demanding Israeli forces leave the area. After the deadline expired, the group fired several rockets towards Jerusalem and Israel launched air raids on Gaza shortly afterwards.
The intervention has allowed Hamas to “position itself as not only the main, but really the sole force of resistance to Israel and to the occupation, very much in contrast to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which is increasingly seen as just a weaker and weaker by most Palestinians,” Julie Norman, a lecturer in international relations at University College London, told Al Jazeera.
Prior to Blinken’s trip, a State Department official told reporters in a background briefing that the administration sought to “structure” aid delivery to Gaza in a way that “begins a process of hopefully reintroducing and reintegrating the Palestinian Authority into Gaza”.
But such an aspiration, Norman said, “is not particularly feasible and has the potential to backfire”, with Hamas expected to experience a surge in support among some segments of Palestinians in the wake of the violence, in which Israeli strikes killed at least 254 people, including 66 children, in Gaza, and widely damaged infrastructure, educational and health facilities.
At least 12 Israelis, including two children, were killed by rocket attacks carried out by Hamas and other armed groups based in Gaza.
Western powers have long engaged with the PA as the de facto representatives of the Palestinians, with the US and EU considering Hamas a “terrorist organisation”. The most recent Israel-Hamas ceasefire was reached through Egyptian mediators who shuttled between Tel Aviv and Gaza.
“In terms of their actual popularity, support and ability to do much on the ground, the PA is very limited right now,” Norman told Al Jazeera. “It’s going to be a very uphill battle for the US to have the PA be the main conduit for this aid and for restoring strength to Palestine or to Palestinians.”
She added: “And it could just further cleave the Fatah-Hamas divide in a way that could make things even harder in the future.”

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

The Kabul Times.