As annexation looms, will Palestinian Authority diminish?

Israel seeks to annex parts of the occupied West Bank in the upcoming month

Anadolu Agency June 02, 2020
Israel seeks to annex parts of the occupied West Bank in the upcoming month. PHOTO: Anadolu Agency

GAZA CITY: As Israel plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, analysts rule out that the annexation will lead to the dissolution of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israel seeks to annex parts of the West Bank in the upcoming month, as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party.

The Israeli plan has drawn global outrage as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered an occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there -- as well as the planned annexation -- illegal.

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestine was terminating all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the US.

Abdel-Majid Sweilem, a political analyst, believes that Abbas will not dissolve the PA in reaction to the Israeli move to annex parts of the West Bank.

"There will be no move to dissolve the PA," Sweilem told Anadolu Agency. "The PA is a national achievement and an arm of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)."

These days, Palestinians mark the 56th anniversary of the PLO's establishment, which has been recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by more than 100 states.

"Despite the criticisms against the PA, facts on the ground have proven that it is besieged by Israel and considered a major enemy of Israel and therefore there is no reason to disband it," he said.

He stressed that dissolving the PA "will not achieve any popular benefits to the Palestinian cause".


Commenting on the PA's termination of all deals with the US and Israel, Sweilem said Israel may consider it a "hostile" move.

"Israel might seek to launch an economic or financial campaign against the PA to weaken or destroy it," he said.

He, however, said Israel "will not be able to risk by carrying out two serious scenarios at the same time, i.e. the annexation and overthrowing the PA".

"Israel is in a quagmire," Sweilem said. "On the one hand, Israel does not want an authority that fights it and it cannot risk overthrowing the PA on the other hand."

Political analyst Khaldoun al-Barghouthi believes that the scenario of pushing the PA toward collapse may not be possible at the present time.

"Israel is not fully prepared to deal with the consequences of [the PA collapse]," he said.

Al-Barghouthi ruled out that the Palestinian leadership would dissolve the PA.

"The PA collapse will have a severe economic impact on the Palestinian people and will carry unbearable implications for Israel," he said.

Destroying the PA "means the collapse of all institutions, which took many years to establish in the hope of reaching a two-state solution agreement," al-Barghouthi said.

He suggested that changes might happen at the international arena "that lead to pile pressure on Israel to revoke its annexation plan, especially in light of the European rejection of the annexation and potential changes in the US administration".

On May 15, the EU said the annexation was not in line with international law and warned against Israel's unilateral move.

In the same context, al-Barghouthi pointed out that US presidential hopeful Joe Biden -- the strongest rival of President Donald Trump in the next presidential race -- has reiterated his adherence to the two-state solution if he wins the polls.

Lack of plan

Political analyst Wadie Abu Nassar thinks that the PA might only threaten to dissolve itself, but without putting the threat into action.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abu Nassar said the Palestinian and Israeli interests are intertwined.

"Whether it comes to permits to pass through Israeli barriers and entry to cities, or permits for goods, or even permits for [medical] treatment, all of these must pass through the Israelis," he said.

"This makes the PA dissolution extremely difficult," he said.

Abu Nassar said the inter-Palestinian rift, and absence of a national action plan "make the option of dissolving the PA off the table".

"The Palestinian side does not have a plan of action and at best it has a reaction," he said.

"We see that the Israeli side is working under a plan, while the Palestinians are only taking reactions," he added.

Abu Nassar also ruled out that Israel would seek to bring down the PA "because it does not want to pay wages to the Palestinians nor let its soldiers in areas crowded with Palestinians".

"It is in Israel's interest to maintain the PA's existence," he added.


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