Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS on 5 November, 2023

Israeli Opposition Leader Rules Out Handing Over Gaza to Ramallah After War

Public By TPS • 15 December, 2023

Jerusalem, 15 December, 2023 (TPS) -- In his most outspoken remarks on the issue to date, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid this week expressed his objections to giving the Palestinian Authority control over the Gaza Strip following the conclusion of Israel’s military operation against Hamas.

“No one on earth thinks that Gaza should be handed over to Abu Mazen [P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas] the day after the war. Not even one!” tweeted Lapid on Wednesday, as he took a jab at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I spoke about this with the American leadership, with the Europeans, with the people of [Benny Gantz’s] National Unity Party, with whoever you want,” claimed the Yesh Atid Party leader.

Lapid’s stance against a P.A.-controlled Gaza Strip is seemingly at odds with the Biden administration, which has publicly taken the position that the P.A. is the best alternative to Hamas.

On Nov. 8, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Gaza must be handed over to the P.A. once Israel’s operation there ends. The solution “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the P.A.,” stated Blinken.

According to a survey released last month, an overwhelming 89% of Palestinians supported establishing a governing body that includes, or is led by Hamas. Only around 8.5% said they favor an authority controlled exclusively by Abbas’s Fatah faction.

A separate poll published on Wednesday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that a majority of Palestinians believe that Hamas is “the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people today.”

In addition, nearly three in four Palestinians said they believe that Hamas was right in launching its Oct. 7 cross-border terror attack, in which terrorists massacred more than 1,200 people.

In a statement to the Tazpit Press Service on Thursday, Lapid called the survey’s results “disturbing to any decent person.”

The poll’s findings “only strengthen the case for the deradicalization program I called for in my plan for the day after the end of this war,” said Lapid, who served as Israel’s prime minister for five months before Netanyahu was voted back into office late last year.

In a policy document shared on Facebook earlier this month, Lapid’s party called for Gaza’s civil administration to be temporarily managed by the U.S. and Arab countries—excluding Turkey and Qatar—as well as local Palestinian factors “not recognized by Hamas.”

“Israel will not agree to the P.A. playing a role in managing life in Gaza until a comprehensive de-radicalization program is implemented in the P.A., which would include education against incitement, stopping payment to terrorists and fighting corruption,” the document read.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 132. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.