Middle East Eye / July 10, 2023
Israeli security cabinet votes to prevent collapse of Palestinian administration while calling for end to ‘incitement’ and ‘illegal construction’ in occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu said the decision had been made at a meeting of his security cabinet on Sunday, with eight members of the top-level forum supporting the move.
The vote was not unanimous, however, with one voting against and one abstaining.
The PA, established in 1993 following the Oslo Accords, holds devolved authority over parts of the occupied West Bank and was supposed to mark the first tentative step towards Palestinian sovereignty and negotiations over the creation of an independent state.
In the years since its creation, however, it has become widely unpopular over its corruption, authoritarianism and security cooperation with Israel. 87-year-old Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also long outstayed his mandate as president.
The PA’s collapse would see governance of the West Bank fully returned to the Israeli state, as was the case between 1967 – when Israeli conquered the territory – and 1993.
Since 1967, Israel has settled nearly 700,000 settlers live in more than 250 settlements and outposts across the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.
The draft declaration agreed on Sunday presents a series of demands for the PA to “cease its anti-Israel activity in the international legal-diplomatic arena.”
In January, Netanyahu’s government announced a series of sanctions against the PA over a push by the body to get the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an advisory notice over Israel’s actions in the West Bank.
The move, according to Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh at the time was aimed at “pushing (the PA) to the brink – financially and institutionally”.
The document also called on the PA to “incitement” and “illegal construction in Area C” of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control and covers about 60 percent of the territory.
A number of senior figures internationally have warned over the potential collapse of the PA.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, US President Joe Biden said the PA had “lost its credibility, not necessarily because of what Israel’s done, just because it’s just lost its credibility, number one, and, number two, created a vacuum for extremism.”
“It’s not all Israel now on the West Bank, all Israel’s problem, but they are a part of the problem,” he added.
Netanyahu: Israel to work to prevent collapse of Palestinian Authority
Reuters / July 9, 2023
JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet on Sunday decided that Israel would work to prevent the collapse of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), but did not offer any concrete steps to do so.
Israel has been stepping up military operations against armed groups in the occupied West Bank, where the PA has limited autonomy.
The volatility has laid bare the weakness of the PA in the face of hundreds of Palestinian militants and the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Netanyahu’s office said his security cabinet had decided to act to prevent the collapse of the PA, though it was not a unanimous decision. His coalition includes far-right parties that oppose Palestinian statehood.
Eight members of the top-level forum voted in favor, with one voting against and one abstaining.
The statement said Netanyahu and his defense minister would bring forward “steps to stabilize the civil situation in the Palestinian arena,” but did not give any specifics.
Set up 30 years ago as part of interim peace accords with Israel, the PA has seen its popularity shrivel amid allegations of graft, incompetence and widely hated security cooperation arrangements with Israel.
There is also uncertainty over the position of 87-year-old Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas has defied prophecies of an end to his two decades in power and refused mounting demands to go, even as prospects of a lasting peace with Israel look more distant than ever.
In an interview with CNN broadcast earlier on Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden warned that the PA “has lost its credibility, not necessarily because of what Israel’s done, just because it’s just lost its credibility, number one, and, number two, created a vacuum for extremism.”
“It’s not all Israel now on the West Bank, all Israel’s problem, but they are a part of the problem,” he said, referring to nationalist cabinet members bent on expanding Jewish settlements.
For Palestinians, Netanyahu’s far-right government has made worse an already bleak outlook, with violence surging and Jewish settlements set to expand in the West Bank – among territories where Palestinians hope to build a future state.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Doina Chiacu; editing by Hugh Lawson and David Holmes
Israel pledges to prevent collapse of Palestinian Authority
The National / July 10, 2023
Despite security cabinet agreement, no specific plans have been put in place to halt authority’s demise.
Israel’s security cabinet agreed on Sunday to “prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority” and demanded the group ends “its anti-Israel activity”, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
The pledge by Israeli ministers includes no specific plans and came days after a major military raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin that killed 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier.
In January, Israel’s hard-right government announced sanctions against President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, which nominally controls parts of the West Bank, over a push to get the UN’s top court to issue an opinion on the Israeli occupation.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said at the time that the sanctions were aimed at “pushing [the PA] to the brink, financially and institutionally”, and were part of “a new war against the Palestinian people”.
The Israeli security cabinet on Sunday voted on a “draft decision submitted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu”, which says “Israel will act to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority”, the premier’s office said
The declaration also demands that the PA “cease its anti-Israel activity in the international legal-diplomatic arena”, as well as “incitement” and “illegal construction in Area C” of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control.
It is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain construction permits in Area C, which covers about 60 per cent of the occupied territory.
Another demand was to stop “payments to the families of terrorists”.
That referred to stipends provided by the PA to families of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops and to families of prisoners in Israeli jails, or the inmates themselves, including those convicted of killing Israelis.
As part of the sanctions imposed in January, Israel withheld dozens of millions of dollars in tax revenues from the PA over its financial support for militants.
The Israeli government also ordered a moratorium on Palestinian building plans in parts of the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
The statement on Sunday said Mr Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant would present “steps to stabilize” the embattled PA.
Israeli media said the proposed measures may include the establishment of industrial zones for Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank, and other moves to support the Palestinian economy.
Soraya Ebrahimi – Homepage Editor