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Palestinian Authority ready to assume responsibility for Gaza with comprehensive political solution, Abbas tells Blinken

Tel Aviv [Israel]: Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah that the PA is prepared to take full responsibility for the Gaza Strip within a comprehensive political solution encompassing the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza after the conclusion of Israel's conflict with Hamas, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.

Abbas emphasised that security and peace can only be achieved by ending Israel's military rule over the territories of the "State of Palestine" and recognising East Jerusalem as its capital.

He also reaffirmed that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which governs the PA, is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and their decision-maker, distancing the rival Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since the 2007 coup, according to The Times of Israel.

This statement comes amid uncertainty regarding the future governance of Gaza and concerns about a potential power vacuum, as Israel has pledged to eliminate Hamas in the ongoing conflict.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Ramallah follows escalating settler violence in the West Bank, triggered by the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. It coincides with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and its humanitarian repercussions, following Blinken's visits to Israel and Jordan.

During a summit in Amman, Blinken and regional foreign ministers expressed deep concern over the rising extremist violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. He said they are "all deeply concerned about escalating extremist violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank," calling it "a serious problem that's only worsened since the conflict," as reported by CNN.

Blinken has emphasised the need to focus on post-conflict arrangements, suggesting that the Palestinian Authority could potentially play a role in Gaza's future if Hamas is removed. He mentioned the possibility of temporary arrangements involving other countries and international agencies for security and governance.

"At some point, what would make the most sense would be for an effective and revitalised Palestinian Authority to have governance and ultimately security responsibility for Gaza," he said at a congressional hearing last week, according to CNN.

"Whether you can get there in one step is a big question that we have to look at. And if you can't, then there are other temporary arrangements that may involve a number of other countries in the region. It may involve international agencies that would help provide for both security and governance," he said.

In an unannounced visit to the West Bank, Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, addressing the mounting violence in the West Bank alongside the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The top US diplomat has visited Israel thrice since the war, but this was his first trip to the West Bank, CNN reported. (ANI)

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