Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu Rules Out Palestinian Authority Governing Gaza After War

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu Rules Out Palestinian Authority Governing Gaza After War

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the idea of the Palestinian Authority governing Gaza once the Israel-Hamas war is over, a position at odds with the Biden administration.

“There will have to be something else there,” Netanyahu said at a news conference Saturday, when asked whether the Palestinian Authority, which has partial administrative control in the occupied West Bank, may govern Gaza after the war.

“There won’t be a civilian authority that educates their children to hate Israel, to kill Israelis, to wipe out the state of Israel.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined conditions Wednesday for a postwar government.

“It must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, as the humanitarian crisis intensified at the Al-Shifa Hospital, Israel said it was ready to evacuate babies from the facility after two died and dozens more were at risk when fuel for the generators ran out on Saturday.

“Medical devices stopped. Patients, especially those in intensive care, started to die,” Al-Shifa Hospital Director Mohammed Abu Selmia said by phone with gunfire and explosions heard in the background.

The Israeli military will help evacuate babies trapped in Al-Shifa on Sunday, chief Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

“The staff of the Shifa hospital has requested that tomorrow we help the babies in the pediatric department to get to a safer hospital,” Hagari told a news conference. “We will provide the assistance needed.”

Israeli troops fought with Hamas gunmen outside Al-Shifa on Saturday with thousands of war-wounded, medical staff and displaced civilians caught in the crossfire.

Selmia said Israeli troops were “shooting at anyone outside or inside the hospital” and preventing movement between buildings.

An Israeli officer, Colonel Moshe Tetro, confirmed clashes outside the hospital but denied Al-Shifa Hospital was under siege or direct attack. He said he was in touch with the director and had offered safe passage for those willing to leave through the hospital’s east side.

Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told broadcaster Channel 12 that taking control of the hospitals would be key to Israel’s goal of rooting out Hamas. But it would require “a lot of tactical creativity” to do so without hurting patients, other civilians and Israeli hostages.

Israeli army officials accuse Hamas of hiding weapons in tunnels under hospitals and setting up a command center beneath Shifa and other hospitals, making the buildings legitimate military targets. Hamas and hospital staff deny this.

Israel Defense Forces denied firing on Al-Shifa Friday and accused Hamas of firing a rocket aimed at Israeli troops that hit the hospital instead.

Elsewhere, the Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli tanks were 20 meters (66 feet) from Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City, causing “a state of extreme panic and fear” among the 14,000 displaced people sheltering there.

Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated Saturday that the responsibility for civilian deaths and injuries lies with Hamas, and he repeated long-standing charges that the militant group uses civilians in Gaza as human shields.

Israel’s military has said soldiers have encountered hundreds of Hamas fighters in underground facilities, schools, mosques and clinics during fighting in Gaza.

Israel launched its offensive in response to Hamas’ October 7 terror attack in southern Israel. On Friday, Israel lowered the estimated death toll to about 1,200 people.

“This is the updated number,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat told Agence France-Presse. “It is due to the fact that there were a lot of corpses that were not identified and now we think those belong to terrorists … not Israeli casualties.”

Hamas also took about 240 people hostages. The U.S., U.K., EU and several other Western countries have designated Hamas a terrorist organization.

The Palestinian death toll has steadily grown to more than 11,000, about 40% of them children, according to Palestinian officials.

The World Health Organization chief says a child dies every 10 minutes.

The head of the World Health Organization told United Nations Security Council members that Gaza’s health system “is on its knees” with 18 of 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary health centers not functioning.

“The situation on the ground is impossible to describe,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Hospital corridors crammed with the injured, the sick, the dying; morgues overflowing; surgery without anesthesia; tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering at hospitals; families crammed into overcrowded schools, desperate for food and water.”

“If there is a hell on earth today, its name is northern Gaza”, said Jens Laerke, U.N. humanitarian spokesperson.

The threat of regional conflict between Israel and Hamas could spill into Lebanon as tensions rise between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

During a tour to Israel’s northern border with Lebanon on Saturday, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant sent a sobering warning to Hezbollah’s leaders.

“My message to Lebanese citizens, I see Gazan civilians evacuating [their homes] and walking along the beach, heading south as they carry white flags [because of Hamas]. Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon to a possible war and is making mistakes. If [Hezbollah] makes such mistakes here, the first to pay the price will be the citizens. What we can do in Gaza, we can also do in Beirut,” he cautioned.

Afterward, Gallant met with soldiers and reservists stationed in the area where he expressed his appreciation for their defense operations, as well as for their actions eliminating targets in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries asked Saturday for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza, declaring at the Joint Emergency Summit of the League of Arab States in Riyadh that Israel bears responsibility for crimes against Palestinians.

Dozens of leaders, including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who was welcomed back into the Arab League earlier this year attended the summit.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler and organizer of the summit, said the kingdom affirms its “condemnation and categorical rejection of this barbaric war against our brothers in Palestine.”

The United Arab Emirates plans to maintain its diplomatic ties with Israel despite international outcry over the mounting toll of the war in Gaza.

UAE officials have publicly condemned Israel’s actions and repeatedly called for an end to the violence but say they also hope to have some moderating influence over the Israeli military operation in the enclave while safeguarding its own interests, according to four sources familiar with UAE government policy.

UNRWA Commissioner Philippe Lazzarini addressed the summit, describing the desperate situation for civilians in Gaza. He also said that in the past month, the U.N. Agency for Palestine Refugees has lost 101 colleagues and more that 1.5 million people have been displaced.

“Every little girl and boy I met in an UNRWA shelter asked me for bread and water,” he said. “Children used to learn and laugh in the school I visited. Now, the school is an overcrowded shelter that lacks the minimum standards for a dignified life.” an accessible web community

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