A succession of top U.S. officials have traveled to the West Bank in recent weeks to meet with Mahmoud Abbas in the hope the 88-year-old — a spectator in the war between Israel and Hamas — can overhaul his unpopular Palestinian Authority enough to run the Gaza Strip after the conflict.

An architect of the 1993 Oslo peace accords with Israel that raised hopes of Palestinian statehood, Abbas has seen his legitimacy steadily undermined by Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, which he oversees. Many Palestinians now regard his administration as corrupt, undemocratic and out of touch.

But in the wake of Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, U.S. President Joe Biden has made it clear that he wants to see a revitalized Palestinian Authority — which Abbas has run since 2005 — take charge in Gaza once the conflict is over, unifying its administration with that of the West Bank.