United States to Play Major Role in Gaza Stabilization with Appointed Adviser – American Faith

The Biden administration is considering appointing a U.S. official as the top civilian adviser to a predominantly Palestinian force once the Israel-Hamas conflict ends, according to four U.S. officials. This move signals the U.S. intention to play a significant role in stabilizing post-war Gaza.

The civilian adviser would be based in the region and work closely with the force’s commanding officer, who could be either Palestinian or from an Arab nation, the officials told Politico. The extent of the adviser’s official authority is still under discussion, but the officials, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks, emphasized that the U.S. aims to play a “prominent” role in addressing Gaza’s post-war chaos.

The White House, Pentagon, and State Department are engaged in private discussions about the adviser’s role, showing that the Biden administration plans to be central to Gaza’s future even after hostilities cease. This involvement includes improving the lives of the 2.2 million Palestinians in the devastated territory. The adviser would not enter Gaza, indicating a desire to avoid any perception that the U.S. is dictating the territory’s future.

Two officials suggested the adviser could be based in Sinai, while another mentioned Jordan. The proposal for the adviser and the peacekeeping force has been circulating in a classified administration document for months. The U.S. is already a key player in the conflict, supporting Israel’s military campaign against Hamas while urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The administration is working to gather multiple partners around ideas to stabilize Gaza post-war, focusing on maintaining security and preventing an insurgency. The adviser plan is one of several “day after” scenarios, including economic growth and city rebuilding. While many plans involve some form of peacekeeping force, debates continue over its composition and authority.

“We have talked about a number of different formulas for some kind of interim security forces in Gaza,” a senior administration official said. “And we have talked to a lot of partners about how the United States could support that with all of our capabilities from outside Gaza.”

The officials noted that a cease-fire and the return of hostages are prerequisites, but negotiations between Israel and Hamas have stalled. The Biden administration is trying to convince Arab states like Egypt, Morocco, and the UAE to join the peacekeeping force, with regional countries demanding a significant U.S. role in Gaza’s future. “It’ll be easier to get them to come along if we’re there playing a part,” an official said.

There is broad agreement between the U.S., Israel, and regional players to form a Palestinian Council to serve as an interim governing structure. Spain, Ireland, and Norway plan to recognize this council, indicating growing support for a sovereign Palestinian state.

Israel must also support the establishment of the force in Gaza, a challenging task given Netanyahu’s far-right government’s opposition to a Palestinian state. However, all officials agreed that Gaza’s desperate conditions necessitate a peacekeeping force.

A third official mentioned ongoing conversations with Israel and Middle Eastern partners about transitioning to a more political and stabilization phase after the war. “We’re offering our ideas and concepts based on very broad and in-depth consultations that we’re having throughout the region on this question.”

The current planning reflects ideas about the civilian adviser and peacekeeping force proposed in a classified State Department paper obtained by POLITICO. The document suggested forming the Temporary Security Mission for Gaza, a hybrid model of police and gendarmerie, not a “force.”

The document emphasized that the mission should not be U.S.-commanded due to likely resistance from Palestinians, but should feature robust Palestinian participation and members from Arab-speaking countries. The force would be led by an officer from Israel, Egypt, or the Palestinian Authority, with Egypt ideally taking the lead.

The U.S. would not send troops to Gaza but would appoint an American civilian as “Director-General” to coordinate with Israel and help train the force’s members, providing intelligence support against threats like Hamas. The force would start small and gradually expand its mission Gaza-wide.

Vedant Patel, a State Department spokesperson, declined to comment on the document, stating, “We don’t comment on purported leaked documents, which often do not reflect the state of play on any given issue at the department.”

Gen. C.Q. Brown, Joint Chiefs chair, publicly criticized Israel’s military strategy, attributing Gaza’s chaos to the campaign’s conduct. “Not only do you have to actually go in and clear out whatever adversary you are up against, you have to go in, hold the territory and then you’ve got to stabilize it,” he said.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan recently met with officials in Saudi Arabia and Israel, but it is unclear if these ideas were discussed with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Netanyahu.

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