Diplomacy & defense

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
After growing fears, Israeli PM tells security cabinet that it must work to prevent PA's collapse

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the country must prepare for the possibility that the Palestinian Authority will collapse.

“We must prevent the Palestinian Authority from collapsing if possible, but at the same time, we must prepare in case it happens,” Netanyahu told the diplomatic-security cabinet, according to two senior officials briefed on the meeting.

Fears of the Palestinian Authority collapsing have been growing ever since US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the region in November. Kerry warned that the situation with the Palestinian leadership was worrying, and his talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas focused on how to prevent the Palestinian Authority from collapsing.

A breakdown in dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians and the current wave of terror attacks that shows no sign of letting up have further complicated matters. 

According to Israeli daily Ha'aretz, a senior Israeli official said the discussions about a possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority were sparked by both written and oral opinions warning of this possibility that were given to the government by the defense establishment over the last two months.

The PA is liable “to collapse on Israel” if this were to happen, according to the source, and this would mean that Israel would be stuck with responsibility for both security and civilian affairs in areas now controlled by the PA.

The US government has repeatedly warned of the dangers of the PA collapsing. 

Louisa Gouliamaki (AFP)

US Secretary of State Kerry has voiced his concerns that the PA would collapse without a cash injection, leading to serious entailing serious security repercussions for both the Palestinians and Israelis.

Speaking with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London, Kerry said that the United States "has been reaching out to key stakeholders in order to express these concerns." 

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told US District Judge George Daniels has warned that the collapse of the PA "would undermine several decades of US foreign policy and add a new destabilizing factor to the region, compromising national security."

Israel froze the transfer of half a billion shekels in tax revenues to Ramallah last year, - a decision which violates Israel's obligations under the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations.

The Paris Protocol (Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of the State of Israel and the PLO, representing the Palestinian people) was signed as part of the Oslo peace negotiations on the 29 April 1994.

The Oslo Agreement, also knows as the Oslo Accords, is an agreement signed between the State of Israel and the PLO on September 13, 1993, meant to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its end by means of territorial concessions and facilitating the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

Under interim peace deals from the 1990s, Israel collects at least $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

The Paris Agreement established that there was no commercial border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and set up a joint customs system controlled by Israel that collects taxes for the Palestinians. The protocol granted the then newly established PA the right to conduct its own economic policies with certain limitations.

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