PA angered by reports Israel thinks it may collapse

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of “plotting” against the PA after he suggested the PA’s collapse may be imminent.

Israeli ultra-leftist daily Ha’aretz reported that Netanyahu said during a meeting of Israel’s diplomacy-security cabinet late Monday that Israel needs to prepare for the PA’s collapse.

“We must prevent the Palestinian Authority from collapsing if possible, but at the same time, we must prepare in case it happens,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying.

The PA foreign ministry said in a statement cited by the Ma’an news agency that Netanyahu’s comments were an attempt to “mislead” the international community, and part of ongoing “campaigns of lies and incitement (he) has been systematically conducting against the Palestinian people, their rights and achievements.”

The ministry condemned Netanyahu’s government for weakening the PA even as it “sheds crocodile tears and claims it is concerned about the PA and its continuity.”

“The Israeli army on a daily basis violates the PA-controlled territories, continues to besiege and cripple the Gaza Strip, and practices all types of collective punishment against the Palestinian people to weaken those supporting peace on the Palestinian side,” the PA ministry accused. It claimed that Israel had purposely created a political impasse and sought to weaken the PA’s economy by making it dependent on Israel.

Ha’aretz reported that the diplomacy-security cabinet has met twice in the past ten days to discuss the possibility of the PA collapsing – due to a wave of unrest, an economic crisis, and a political crisis in its leadership.

Last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned in a New Yorker interview that Israeli policies could push the PA toward collapse, causing its 30,000 security officers to scatter and leading to chaos and increasingly violent clashes with Israel.

However, not everyone thinks this is such a bad scenario. In the past, experts like Efraim Inbar of the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies have advocated allowing the PA to fail. “We will not allow Hamas to take over the area,” he said. “We will rule. Maybe not the whole area, but we will control the security space. We should prepare to put up with some disturbances, and stop paying lip service to the paradigm of two states for two peoples. It simply does not work because there is no partner on the other side.”