By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid
This is how Mahmoud Abbas, commonly known as Abu Mazen, threatened Israelis, when he said that he would dismantle the Palestinian Authority (PA) and “give the keys to the Muqata’a” — his government complex in Ramallah — to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, effectively dumping responsibility for the Palestinians on the Israeli leader. He also said, “As they reject the two-state solution and therefore they have to pay the price of occupation rather than just collecting tax as is the case today.
Here, we expect him to do the same. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should actually hand over the governance to the Israelis and end the Oslo Accord which was signed 20 years ago leading to setting up of the PA. Because empty threats do more harm than good. What made him think of this unprecedented step in history — handing over the reins of power back to the occupation — is because the Palestinian government is both confident and frustrated.
They finally got a seat at the United Nations as a non-member state, even if it is in fact a symbolic victory. On the other hand, it no longer has the power to do anything to improve the conditions of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, for which it is responsible, according to the Oslo Accord. The government virtually lives on international aid, and some taxes, which Israel is supposed to give it from the collection of customs.
However, the aid is no longer sufficient and Israel refrained from handing Palestinians their rightful money, while the world just watches this really strange situation.
The Palestinian project is almost bankrupt politically and financially and reached a dead end because of Israel, which refuses to accept a two-state solution where both the countries live side by side.
Should Abu Mazen give them the key to the state, Israelis are legally bound to take the responsibility of managing two and a half million Palestinians. This will never be an easy task, and will see the return of uprisings against the occupation that had stopped thanks to the presence of the Palestinian police force between them.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who may remain in office after the election, cynically comments that Abu Mazen threatens to dissolve the Palestinian civilian authority because he is losing on the ground in the West Bank to the expanding rival, Hamas, that has dominated on the ground. However, Netanyahu knows that the power solution would mean international intervention because of the agreement signed early in 1993 which was sponsored by the US, and the US and the international community must be held responsible for the consequences of dissolving the Palestinian Authority.
Here, Abbas should ensure that Hamas would not exploit the situation by trying to grab power under some pretexts, possibly in agreement with the Israelis, as it is currently happening in Gaza — where battles do not take place except when Hamas fails to control Palestinian factions especially Salafist and jihadist competitors.
Also, it is hoped that Abbas does not back down on his threats at the last minute in return for verbal promises, because he has kept everyone waiting for the promised and decisive hour. The situation in the occupied territories is no longer a question of funding the salaries of the government staff and the search for more financial support, because Israel feels confident in expanding its settlements on occupied territories. No one cares what happens, as long as the Palestinian Authority is preoccupied with the daily concerns of its citizens.