Palestinian Presidency Rejects Handover Of Gaza To Foreign Forces

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian presidency has rejected any foreign presence on Palestinian lands, in response to Israeli statements calling for the handover of the Gaza Strip to international forces.

In a declaration carried by the official news agency WAFA, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for the presidency, said on Sunday that “there is no legitimacy for any foreign presence on Palestinian lands, and only the Palestinian people can decide who governs and manages their affairs”.

He stressed that the Israeli government “is delusional if it thinks it can decide the fate of the Palestinian people and cement the occupation by bringing in foreign forces” as reported by Xinhua news agency.

The Spokesperson called the Palestine Liberation Organisation the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, which “has legal authority over all of Palestine’s territory, including Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem”.

He emphasised that “the Palestine issue is about land and statehood, not just humanitarian aid; it is a sacred issue and the central cause for Arabs”.

On Friday, Israeli public radio Kan reported that Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant discussed the transitional phase plan for Gaza during his visit to the US days ago.

The plan would be overseen by a steering committee led by the US and involving moderate Arab countries, according to the radio.

The international forces, possibly including soldiers from Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco, would oversee security in Gaza while the American side would handle leadership and logistics from outside the strip, likely in Egypt, it reported.

The plan will be implemented in stages from north to south Gaza and aims for the gradual transfer of local security responsibilities to Palestinian forces, the report said.

It noted that the plan assumes that Hamas’s military capabilities have been sufficiently reduced, rendering the group unable to conduct large-scale attacks.

Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said last Tuesday during a conference at the Reichman University in Herzliya that “the post-war plan for Hamas and Gaza has been prepared in recent weeks, and we will soon see practical steps towards this”.

He added, “We do not have to wait for Hamas to disappear, as it is a long process,” explaining, “We cannot eliminate Hamas as an idea; we need an alternative idea.”

Hanegbi believes that establishing an alternative to replace Hamas is essential for achieving long-term victory, saying that the alternative should be a government supported by local residents who wish to live alongside Israel, with backing from moderate Arab countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had faced widespread criticism from within and outside Israel for not presenting a clear post-war plan for Gaza.

Israel has been conducting a large-scale offensive against Hamas in Gaza to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on October 7, 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage. (IANS)

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