Photo Credit: Amit Shabi/POOL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, June 18, 2023.

According to Israel Hayom, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering relying on Palestinian Authority employees living in Gaza to manage life in the Strip after the end of the first phase of the war.

Netanyahu is on the record as having objected numerous times to the Biden administration’s idea of handing over the administration of life in the Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Informed sources in the PM’s office told Israel Hayom that even if PA officials who are Gaza residents are invited to govern, they would be vetted to make sure they have no ties to terrorism.


Yes, I also chuckled after reading that one…

Nevertheless, those informed sources suggested Netanyahu had not ruled out the idea of relying on PA employees to take part in the future Gaza Strip government.

Finance Minister and Religious Zionism Chairman Bezalel Smotrich ignored the comedic potential of the idea of a terrorism-free Palestinian Authority and reacted on Monday, declaring: “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement about the use of Palestinian Terrorist Authority officials to control Gaza the day after is not acceptable and does not match the Prime Minister’s announcements in recent days, certainly not the attitudes of the majority of the Israeli public and members of the government, who have become disillusioned with the dangerous notion that we can deposit our security in the hands of our enemies. IDF fighters are not sacrificing their lives in Gaza to coronate the terror supporter and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, or any his underlings in place of Hamas.”

“I’ve been demanding for a long time, in writing and in speaking, to hold in-depth discussions on the matter and make decisions jointly,” Smotrich continued and warned: “I hope that the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister will not put us to the test and will not present us with fait accompli that we cannot endorse.

After too many years in which we were forced to reluctantly sign on to a policy that we opposed with every fiber of our soul, and which led, among other things, to the terrible Hamas massacre of Israeli citizens on Simchat Torah, we will not repeat the mistakes of the past and be part of wasting the achievements of the war that are still being gained with the precious blood of the best of our sons.”

Last week, Smotrich embarrassed PM Netanyahu when the socio-economic cabinet headed by Smotrich voted unanimously against the security establishment’s proposal to increase the number of PA workers who would be allowed to work in Israel. All the cabinet ministers opposed the proposal, except for Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter (Likud) and Labor Minister Yoav Ben Tzur (Shas) who abstained. Later, the majority of the political-security cabinet ministers also objected, and Netanyahu withdrew the proposal without a vote to prevent it from being defeated.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement in response to the Israel Hayom report, saying: “The report is not true. Prime Minister Netanyahu is the one who leads the policy that states that in the Gaza Strip, after the elimination of Hamas, no party that educates for terrorism, finances terrorism, and pays the families of terrorists will rule. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that we will not replace Hamastan with Fatahistan. Any report to the contrary is unfounded.”


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