Report: Palestinians Refuse Arab Multi-National Force Proposal for Gaza

Report: Palestinians Refuse Arab Multi-National Force Proposal for Gaza

Al-Mayadeen, a Hezbollah-affiliated network, reported on Saturday that “Palestinian factions” in Syria rejected the proposal to establish a multi-national military force of Arab countries with the backing of the US. This force would be responsible for controlling law and order in Gaza and escorting humanitarian aid convoys

“Arab countries, together with the US, are trying to rescue the IDF from the situation it has found itself in Gaza. The Palestinian people are capable of choosing their leaders and institutions that will manage the Strip,” the report stated. 

It was previously reported that Israel is interested in the advancement of an Arab force to both solve the issue of the looting of humanitarian aid convoys and prevent widespread hunger in Gaza. It would also to enable the creation of a Palestinian alternative to Hamas rule in Gaza. 

A senior Israeli official said that “such a move will build a governing body in the area that is not Hamas and will solve Israel’s problem with the US regarding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

This official also noted that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant discussed the possibility of establishing a multi-national force during discussions with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and in talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. All of this was in the framework of promoting a plan for “the day after” the war in Gaza. 

Palestinians ride on a donkey cart as they return to their home, during a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, November 24, 2023 (credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

According to the Israeli official, this Arab-led force would only stay in Gaza for a limited transition period. It would be responsible for securing the temporary pier that the US intends to build off the coast of Gaza. This force would also escort the humanitarian aid convoys to ensure they reach the people who need it most rather than remain vulnerable to looting by terrorists. 

Additionally, Gallant asked the US to cooperate in promoting the establishment of this multi-national force, emphasizing to the Americans that this would take the form of political and material support, with no US troops entering the ground in Gaza. The senior Israeli official added that senior officials in the IDF and Defense Ministry had discussed the issue in recent weeks with representatives from three Arab countries, including Egypt. 

Arab nations propose creating force for West Bank 

In another development, there are reports that senior officials of Arab nations have proposed a deployment of Arab forces not only in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank, KAN News reported on Saturday. 

This proposal was brought up in a meeting last week between ministers of Arab countries and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo, where these leaders put forward such a proposal to station Arab forces in the Gaza Strip and regions in the West Bank. The force would also reportedly see the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza.

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates met with Blinken to propose this plan. 

An Arab diplomat, who was aware of the meeting, told KAN that Arab leaders expressed willingness to deploy forces in the West Bank “to launch a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, and to implement the two-state solution.”

This source told KAN that Arab states fear that Israel will treat this solution as tactical and temporary, such as distributing humanitarian aid, rather than a comprehensive and strategic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is something the Arab states would want to see through. 

Additionally, the source added that Arab states put this proposal on the table to prove their commitment to the peace process and their willingness to engage in security arrangements related to the establishment of a Palestinian state – not just by helping the IDF achieve its goals in Gaza.

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