Israel Doesn’t Need the Palestinian Authority

July 28, 2020 | Yossi Kuperwasser
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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.

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