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Analysis

Why PA rejected Israel's offer for 'unofficial' control of Rafah crossing

A Ramallah-based source explained to Al-Monitor that the PA is not interested in cooperating with Israel on piecemeal projects that don't include a broader agreement on postwar governance of Palestinian territories.
An Egyptian tanker truck bearing the insignia of the United Nations enters the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on March 23, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

This is an excerpt from the Palestine Briefing, Al-Monitor's weekly newsletter covering the big stories of the week in Palestine. To get Palestine Briefing in your inbox, sign up here.

Despite high-level political pressure — including from the United States in suspending some bomb shipments to Israel and Egypt’s threat to downgrade diplomatic ties — Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appears to be intent on moving ahead with a military operation in the densely populated southern Gaza city of Rafah.

As Israeli troops encircle eastern Rafah, Axios first reported that Israel had proposed to the Palestinian Authority that it operate the Rafah border crossing on the Gaza side but "unofficially", as Cairo has become increasingly impatient with Israel's operations in the area. “The Israeli request [that the Palestinian government] take over the crossings was rejected in light of the presence of Israeli forces inside Gaza,” a high-level Palestinian official told Al-Monitor. 

The Ramallah-based source explained to Al-Monitor that the PA is not interested in cooperating with Israel on piecemeal projects that don't include a broader agreement on postwar governance of Palestinian territories. "For the Palestinian Authority to assume duties in the Gaza Strip, it must be part of public step under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization and have international guarantees," he said, adding, “All arrangements must be carried out within the framework of a comprehensive political plan that includes the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and in light of political and economic empowerment.”

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