Israel Doesn’t Need the Palestinian Authority

In response to the possibility that Jerusalem will attempt to apply its sovereignty to certain areas of the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority (PA). Such a step could, at worst, plunge the area into chaos. At best, it would leave Israel to shoulder the expenses of providing basic civil services to the Palestinians living in the areas now under PA control—everything from education to welfare for the indigent to policing traffic laws. Of course, Abbas has been threatening to take this step for years, and never made good. Yossi Kuperwasser nonetheless examines the ways Abbas might do so (including temporary or partial dissolution), the possible consequences, and the actions Israel would be forced to take in various scenarios. Kuperwasser concludes:

[W]hile continuing the [present] situation is preferred, Israel can deal with the other alternatives. Some [possible outcomes even] present the possibility that an alternative leadership that may emerge, inside or outside the PA, which may lead to a different view of Israel-Palestinian relations and raise new opportunities.

In any case, Israel does not have to be hostage to the PA and make the PA’s existence and its functioning central elements of Israeli security, especially so long as the PA adheres to a Palestinian narrative that . . . calls for the destruction of Zionism and negates any arrangement recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. At the same time, the PA encourages terrorism by paying salaries to terrorists and their families and incites hatred against Israel both domestically and on the Arab and international stages. It should be clear that no Palestinian is going to accept any unilateral Israeli move regarding the legal status of any territory, even if some may be willing to assume responsibility for the daily needs of the Palestinian population and to lead the Palestinians in their attempt to promote their national interests.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion