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Israel reportedly considering Palestinian Authority spy chief to manage post-war Gaza

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and opposition leader Yair Lapid among Israeli officials touting Faraj as potential post-war administrator of the Gaza Strip
Director of Palestinian General Intelligence in the West Bank Majed Faraj is seen in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 3 December 2016. (AFP)
Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, in Ramallah on 3 December 2016 (AFP)

Majed Faraj, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence apparatus, has reportedly been put forward as a potential post-war administrator of the besieged Gaza enclave by Israeli officials.

His name was raised at a private security meeting.

Faraj is renowned for working closely with Israeli defence officials, and has always been seen by Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders as the most likely substitute for PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

In an interview with Israel’s state broadcaster, Kan, opposition leader Yair Lapid said: “it is natural to bring up the name of Faraj, in the PA. He is one of the figures who worked with us the most against Hamas.”

According to Israeli media reports, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has proposed Faraj, who is also a close associate of Abbas, to temporarily manage the Gaza Strip in the “post-war” phase.

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The idea of appointing the 61-year-old PA figure comes as Israeli efforts intensify to dismantle Hamas and push the group away from assuming any roles in the civilian administration of Gaza.

Al Jazeera, quoting Israeli media, said that Faraj had already started work on building an armed force in the south of the Gaza Strip, comprised of families who do not endorse Hamas. The unit will allegedly be tasked with managing aid deliveries from the south to the north of Gaza.

Responding to these reports, Hossam Badran, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, told Al Jazeera that there will be “no internal Palestinian agreement in isolation from the Palestinian national decision, that always stems from a reconciliation with the various Palestinian factions and forces”.

He added that the “Israeli occupation, any regional or international party are not allowed to mess around in the internal Palestinian arena or force its agendas”.

Post-war vision

Currently, Faraj is in charge of coordinating with Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, the CIA and other international intelligence establishments.

According to Kan, other names were brought up in the discussion, none of whom are close to Hamas. Kan reports that no decision has yet been made on what is described as “the day after” the war ends in Gaza.

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On 22 February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his vision for a post-war Gaza in a security cabinet meeting.

He envisaged that Israel should take indefinite security control over the occupied West Bank and Gaza after the end of the ongoing war. 

The prime minister said that Gaza would be demilitarised and deradicalised in the medium term, and proposed that Israel would have a presence along the Gaza-Egypt border, including at the Rafah crossing. 

He also recommended that Palestinians who do not have ties with Hamas should act as local representatives. No certain timings were set to achieve the listed aims.

The US, however, proposed that the PA administer the West Bank.

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