Biden says Palestinian Authority should ultimately govern Gaza and West Bank

U.S. President Joe Biden disembarks from Marine One at Delaware Air National Guard Base

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said on Saturday the Palestinian Authority should ultimately govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank following the Israel-Hamas war.

"As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution," Biden said in an opinion article in the Washington Post.

"There must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory," Biden said.

He used the op-ed to try to answer the question of what the United States wants for Gaza once the conflict is over.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took issue with Biden's plan for the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza.

"I think that the PA in its current form is not capable of accepting the responsibility for Gaza after we’ve fought and done all this, to pass it to them," he said at a news conference in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu has previously said Israel must maintain "overall military responsibility" in Gaza "for the foreseeable future."

The Palestinian Authority used to run both the West Bank and Gaza but was ousted from the latter in 2007 after a brief civil war with Hamas.

Biden also said the United States is prepared to issue visa bans against "extremists" attacking civilians in the West Bank. Violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has increased since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

"I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable," Biden said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Biden to pressure Israel to stop violence against Palestinians.

"I also call on you to urgently intervene to stop the attacks by Israeli forces and the continuous terrorism by settlers against our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which foreshadow an imminent explosion," he said in a special address aired by Palestine TV.

The West Bank, home to 3 million Palestinians who live among more than half a million Jewish settlers, has been seething for more than 18 months, drawing growing international concern as violence has escalated after Oct. 7.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Eric Beech; Additional reporting by Emily Rose; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Daniel Wallis)