Middle East Monitor / July 11, 2023
More proof of the Palestinian Authority’s precarious position was made public earlier this week, when it was announced that Israeli ministers, with the exception of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, voted in favour of measures that would bolster the PA.
“In the absence of a change in the national assessment, Israel will act to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, while demanding that it cease its anti-Israel activity in the international legal-diplomatic arena, the incitement in its media and education system, the payments to the families of terrorists and murderers, and the illegal construction in Area C,” the Israeli Diplomatic Security Cabinet’s statement partly read.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan is to provide privileges for the PA, one of which is a plan to restore the PA’s senior officials’ VIP travelling permits. According to Israeli media quoting unnamed official sources, the measures are meant to indicate to the US and the international community that the Israeli government is willing to take steps to ensure the PA’s survival.
The dissociation between Palestinians and the PA continues unabated. In diplomatic circles, the PA’s significance, as compromised as it is, has become the primary concern. Israel’s raid on Jenin’s refugee camp is one such example which ties into the diplomatic narrative. With the new Palestinian Resistance findings its roots in Jenin and moving away from the traditional political factions, the PA was marginalised to the point of insignificance. However, the Israeli aggression, as well as the drive to support the PA, all point towards the intent to restore Ramallah’s influence in the Occupied West Bank, which may well be a lost battle, given that the PA has established itself as the enemy of the Palestinian people.
The PA’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is set to visit Jenin’s refugee camp tomorrow “to check citizens’ conditions, and the progress of work in the reconstruction of the camp and the city, following the last Israeli aggression,” according to WAFA news agency. What Palestinians will remember is that the PA is more interested in publicity than it is in providing for the people who have a history of dispossession since the 1948 Nakba.
For the international community, Jenin is already relegated to the humanitarian paradigm of reconstruction. Israel and the US veer towards containing the Palestinian Resistance that has altered the decades-long status quo of prominent factions deciding the resistance narrative. Meanwhile, the PA steals the spotlight in diplomatic circles because it is a necessity for Israel and international diplomacy, none of which have anything to do with Palestinian political aspirations other than to crush them. Hence, the plan for PA privileges.
While the PA’s Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, stated that Israel will not coerce Ramallah into abandoning its diplomatic efforts in the international arena in return for concessions, it is likely that a compromise will be found. After all, the PA’s efforts at the UN, for example, will yield no retribution for Israel. So, whether or not the PA moves forward with its stale plans that laud international law for nothing, Israel still stands to gain if the PA remains in power.
Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America