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Sullivan, Palestinian Authority to discuss post-Hamas Gaza

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday about reforming the beleaguered body as part of preparations for a day-after scenario in the Gaza Strip amid Israel’s commitment to destroying Hamas.
Sullivan’s travel to Ramallah follows meetings in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials on the military operation in Gaza following Hamas’s shocking Oct. 7 terrorist attack.
“We expect to have a very good conversation with the Palestinian Authority,” a senior administration official said in a call with reporters from Tel Aviv.
It will be Sullivan’s first trip to Ramallah since last year, and discussions will include stability in the West Bank, with violence spanning Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians; Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis; and raids and operations conducted by Israeli and Palestinian security forces against violence and terrorist activity.
Amid the diplomacy, the administration continues to back Israel’s mission to eliminate Hamas, which continues to fire rockets into Israel and its cells and supporters in the West Bank have carried out terrorist attacks and attempts. The administration says that Israel’s security cannot be guaranteed until Hamas’s military infrastructure in Gaza and leadership are dismantled.
“[Yahya] Sinwar, as the military leader of Hamas, I think it’s safe to say his days are numbered,” the senior administration official said.
“I also think it’s safe to say it doesn’t matter how long it takes,” adding that Sinwar is also responsible for the murders of 38 Americans as part of the 1,200 people massacred on Oct. 7, and that Americans are among the more than 130 hostages that Hamas continues to hold.
“We again call on Hamas to release those hostages and we’re doing everything we possibly can to locate and to bring those hostages to safety, to get them out of Gaza.”
Sullivan is likely to express support for the Palestinian National Security Forces, which benefit from U.S. training.
“We’ll talk about both the Palestinian security forces. We will talk about efforts we are doing to rein in violent extremist settler violence — which we’ve been very vocal about will continue to be — and also the capacity of the Palestinian Authority, which we recognize needs to be revamped, revitalized, and I think they would tell you that themselves,” the administration official said.
The Biden administration is undertaking intense diplomacy in the region to develop options for a Gaza Strip absent Hamas leadership, but that faces incredible challenges from opposition by nearly all parties.
Netanyahu and members of his far-right coalition have at times rejected that the Palestinian Authority is fit to step into a governing role in Gaza, and have spoken out against the establishment of a Palestinian State.
The Palestinian Authority, which was ejected from Gaza in a bloody coup by Hamas in 2007, has said it would not enter the strip by virtue of a successful Israeli military operation.
And Egypt, Jordan and Gulf states like the UAE and Saudi Arabia have either rejected, or poked holes, in proposals to have any interim Arab authorities or security in the Gaza Strip.
These countries and the Palestinian Authority also criticize the U.S. for failing to demand Israel implement a cease-fire, pointing to the estimated 18,000 deaths in the Gaza Strip, the majority civilians, and a humanitarian crisis that has made the parcel of land a living hell.
Still, the official acknowledged that finding a solution for Gaza is “hardly a light switch.”
“There’s a lot of work to do here. And I think that there’s a pretty rich conversation going on with a number of regional partners and also with the Palestinian Authority. And we hear from them, of course, their deep concerns about the current situation in Gaza.”

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