The US wants to see Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority restored to ruling Gaza after the current conflict is over, and will make efforts to bring this about, American Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro indicated Saturday night.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 news, Shapiro was asked about the unity government formed last month by Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas. He did not reply directly and instead noted that Abbas was currently in close contact with Egypt, trying to broker a ceasefire to end the Hamas-Israel hostilities. Then he said, “At the end of this conflict, we’ll seek to help the moderate elements among the Palestinians to become stronger in Gaza,” referring to Abbas’s PA. “They might be able to run Gaza more effectively than Hamas, a terror organization.”
Hamas ousted Abbas’s forces in a violent takeover in 2007.
Echoing remarks made by President Barack Obama in public and in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, Shapiro said the US “strongly backs Israel’s right to defend itself. It’s intolerable for any state to have rockets fired at its citizens, or terrorists infiltrating via tunnels.” He said the US “understands the need for the current ground offensive.”