Updated March 19th, 2024 at 17:01 IST

Incoming Palestinian PM Mohammad Mustafa Lays Out ‘Postwar Plan’ for Devastated Gaza

Mustafa laid out wide-ranging plans for the kind of revitalized Palestinian Authority called for by the US as part of its postwar vision for resolving.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Incoming Palestinian PM Mohammad Mustafa, US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. | Image:AP
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Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa laid out wide-ranging plans for a revitalized Palestinian Authority and an independent trust fund to oversee Gaza’s reconstruction in a mission statement acquired Tuesday by The Associated Press. But the plans face major obstacles , including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to any return of the PA to Gaza .

Fighting in the enclave has left at least 31,726 Palestinians dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead. A United Nations food agency warned that “famine is imminent” in northern Gaza . On Monday, Israeli forces launched a raid on Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, accusing Hamas militants of using it as a base. Gaza’s Health Ministry said the army attacked the hospital, firing at a building used for specialized surgeries.

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Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 people in the surprise Oct. 7 attack out of Gaza that triggered the war, and and abducted another 250 people. Hamas is still believed to be holding some 100 people hostage, as well as the remains of 30 others.

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The new Palestinian prime minister says he will appoint a technocratic government and establish an independent trust fund to oversee Gaza’s reconstruction. In a mission statement acquired Tuesday by The Associated Press, Mohammad Mustafa laid out wide-ranging plans for the kind of revitalized Palestinian Authority called for by the United States as part of its postwar vision for resolving the conflict. But the Palestinian Authority has no power in Gaza, from which Hamas drove its forces in 2007, and only limited authority in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

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In his mission statement, Mustafa said he would appoint a “non-partisan, technocratic government that can gain both the trust of our people and the support of the international community.” He promised wide-ranging reforms of PA institutions and a “zero tolerance” policy toward corruption and said he would seek to reunify the territories and create an “independent, competent and transparent agency for Gaza’s recovery and reconstruction and an internationally managed trust fund to raise, manage and disburse the required funds.”

The vision statement made no mention of Hamas , which won a landslide victory the last time Palestinians held national elections, in 2006, and which polls indicate still has significant support . Mustafa said the PA aims to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, but he did not give a timetable and said it would depend on “realities on the ground” in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war that the Palestinians want for their future state.

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Meanwhile, Syria’s state media says Israeli airstrikes have hit several military posts near the capital, Damascus, causing material damage but no casualties. State-news agency SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying that some of the missiles were shot down by Syrian air defenses before they hit their targets. There was no immediate comment from Israel regarding the early Tuesday strikes. 

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in recent years, mainly aimed at Iran-linked targets in Syria, but rarely acknowledges them. The strikes have escalated over the past five months against the backdrop of the war in Gaza and the daily exchange of fire between the militant Hezbollah group and Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border.

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(The Associated Press)

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Published March 19th, 2024 at 17:01 IST