RAMALLAH (Reuters) -Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday the Palestinian Authority could play a role in administering the Gaza Strip, on condition that there was a full political solution that also encompassed the occupied West Bank.
With Israeli forces now deep inside Gaza, some two weeks after the start of a ground operation to destroy the Islamist movement Hamas, there has been increasing speculation over what the future may look like after the fighting ends.
The United States has said that Palestinians should govern Gaza after the war but how that would work in practice remains open.
Abbas said he held Israel completely responsible for events in Gaza, which has been subject to a weeks-long bombardment that has killed more than 11,000 people, according to Palestinian health authorities. The air and ground assault follows an attack by Hamas gunmen from Gaza on Oct. 7 in which Israel said on Friday that around 1,200 people were killed, a revision downward from a previous government estimate of 1,400.
The Palestinian Authority could be part of a wider political solution with an independent Palestinian state, Abbas said.
"Gaza is an integral part of the State of Palestine, and we will assume our full responsibilities within the framework of a comprehensive political solution, encompassing both the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza," he said.
Attempts to secure an agreement for a two state solution with an independent Palestinian state have been stalled for almost a decade after the last round of U.S.-brokered peace talks stalled in 2014. Although countries including the United States have continued to call for a two state solution, there have been no firm signs of any revival in the peace process.
Abbas said there should be an international peace conference to work out specific timelines, backed by international guarantees.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and James Mackenzie; Writing by Clauda Tanios; Editing by Alison Williams and Grant McCool)