Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin said on Monday that efforts to sustain the Palestinian Authority are misguided and will only make it harder to cope with its inevitable collapse.
The Minister of Immigration Absorption, who is also a member of the security cabinet, predicted during a speech at Bar-Ilan University on Monday that the days of the Palestinian Authority, as well as the Oslo Accords, are numbered.
“There’s no point in continuing this artificial resuscitation of the PA, and we should prepare a proper tombstone for the grave, as well as for the Oslo Accords. The PA was born with Mahmoud Abbas, who initiated and pushed Oslo, and the PA will disappear with Abbas when he goes,” Elkin said.
Elkin said that Israel needs to prepare for the eventuality of the PA’s collapse, saying, “We must stop these fruitless discussions which debate whether or not it will be good for Israel. The PA will collapse whether we want it to or not; the train has already left the station. I’m sorry to say that at the moment, it seems that we have yet to internalize the new situation, and we aren’t preparing for it properly.”
“There is a need to prepare defensively and understand the new terrain. The source of authority is not hierarchical or institutional anymore — there is a need to recognize the new players who rose to power behind the scenes. If we know how to recognize who they are, we will be able to quietly control the situation. There is no doubt that this is a ticking time bomb which can be neutralized, but only if we wake up in time.”
Meanwhile, in counterpoint on Monday, Palestinian Authority Finance Minister Shukri Bishara sent a letter of thanks to Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for the release of 500 million shekels in withheld taxes to the PA.
In their meeting last week, Kahlon promised to release the money to help them cover a deficit of 1.5 billion NIS, thereby preventing a collapse of the PA. The Israeli finance minister also announced to his Palestinian colleague that Israel will issue thousands of additional work permits for Palestinians to work in Israel
According to Palestinian media, in his letter to Kahlon, Bishara wrote that “owing to your leadership and understanding, we have reached a positive turning point and set the stage for a new beginning in the commercial relationship between Israel and ourselves.”