U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz at the White House on Monday as Washington seeks to reach a deal for a temporary ceasefire and increase the flow of aid to Gaza.
Soldiers of the Palestinian National Authority patrol the streets of Bethlehem © Mena Today
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Thursday that governance of the West Bank and Gaza Strip needs to be connected under a "revamped and revitalized" Palestinian Authority.
Sullivan, who is visiting Israel and spoke in an interview with Israel's Channel 12 television, said he had talked with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel shifting from high-intensity military operations in Gaza to a more precise and targeted phase.
Sullivan declined to give details or a timeline, but he called the conversation constructive and said there was a "wide degree of convergence" on strategic objectives and steps needed.
"Ultimately, governance of the West Bank and Gaza needs to be connected. And it needs to be connected under a revamped and revitalized Palestinian Authority," he said.
Asked what that meant, Sullivan answered: "That's something that requires intensive consultations with the Palestinians first, as well as with the Israeli government. But it will require reform, it will require an updating of how the Palestinian Authority approaches governance."
"It will require the participation of other countries in the region to contribute financial resources and other forms of support," he added.
The Palestinian Authority, which has limited autonomy in the occupied West Bank, used to run Gaza as well, but was ousted from the coastal enclave in 2007 after a brief civil war with Hamas.
Netanyahu said last month that the Palestinian Authority in its current form should not take charge of Gaza.
Sullivan's high-level visit comes as the United States is pushing Israel to do more to protect civilians in Gaza during its military campaign against Hamas.
"The issue really is, when does Israel shift from the high-intensity military operations that are underway today to a different phase of this conflict. One that's more precise, more targeted," Sullivan said.
"We had a very constructive conversation about these phases ... And I felt that the conversation really landed in a good place."
He added: "I'm not here to lecture or dictate. Israel is a friend and a partner. We sit down and we consult and we talk as friends."
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Leslie Adler and Rosalba O'Brien
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