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US reportedly preparing for significant post-war role in Gaza

White House favors civilian advisor to Arab peacekeeping force

Palestinians shop for food in Rafah, southern GazaStrip. Dec. 28, 2023 (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90).

As Israel moves forward with a military incursion into Rafah, aimed at dismantling Hamas’ military and political role in Gaza, the Washington D.C.-based news site Politico reported on Thursday that the United States is considering taking a significant role in the post-war civilian government administration of Gaza. 

U.S. President Joe Biden is considering the appointment of a U.S. official to serve as a civilian advisor to a Palestinian or Arab governing body, Politico wrote. 

The main goal for the advisor, and the U.S. role in post-war Gaza, is to stabilize the region, maintain security, and avoid the risk of a Hamas insurgency in the Gaza Strip. 

According to Politico, the civilian advisor would be based somewhere in the region – possibly Jordan or Egypt – and work directly with the head of the governing body to be established in Gaza. However, the advisor would not enter Gaza to avoid the impression that the U.S. is dictating the decisions.

Four American officials, who spoke with Politico on condition of anonymity, said the White House “expects to be at the center of what happens to Gaza” following the war. They said the U.S. has been in classified discussions about the civilian advisor and a peacekeeping force for several months.

The four officials said the advisor is one of the plans the U.S. has considered regarding the “day after” the war.

The U.S. has already been in dialogue with Israel regarding its plans for the region after the war ends. The leaked information may be due to the Biden administration’s apparent frustration with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly discuss plans for the Gaza Strip after the end of the war. 

Related to the discussions of a civilian advisor, Politico obtained a classified U.S. State Department document that mentioned the advisor role.

According to that document, a peacekeeping force would not be “a U.S.-commanded mission” due to the possibility it would “encounter fierce resistance by the Palestinian people given US support for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.” 

The document recommended a mixed Palestinian Arab peacekeeping force with a commander from either Israel, Egypt or a “reformed Palestinian Authority.” 

According to Politico, the U.S. currently prefers an Egyptian commander, although, given the recent issues between Egypt and Israel regarding the Rafah border crossing and smuggling tunnels, it is not clear Israel would agree to an Egyptian-led force. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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