The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “plotting” against the PA after he suggested the political body’s collapse may be imminent.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Netanyahu said during a meeting of Israel’s diplomatic-security cabinet late Monday that Israel ought 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 by Israeli daily Haaretz.
The PA foreign ministry said in a statement that his comments were an attempt to “mislead” the international community, and part of an 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 while simultaneously “shed(ding) crocodile tears and claim(ing) they are concerned about the PA and its continuity.”
It added: “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 ministry said it held Israel accountable for the dire conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, noting that it was Israel that had created a political impasse and sought to weaken the economy by making it dependent on Israel.
According to Haaretz, Israel’s diplomatic-security cabinet has met twice in the past 10 days to discuss the possibility of the PA collapsing — due to a wave of unrest, Palestine’s economic crisis, and a political crisis in the Palestinian leadership.
The meetings appear to have been prompted by repeared warnings by Israel’s defense establishment in recent months, who noted that the PA’s collapse would force Israel to take on its role.
Haaretz reported that while Netanyahu accepted this position, he had chosen not to implement most recommendations from the security establishment, largely due to political pressure in the security cabinet.
Last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that key Israeli policies were “imperiling” the viability of a two-state solution by pushing the PA toward collapse.
While he acknowledged that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had stated his commitment to a two-state solution, he said it was “important that that not become a slogan, not become a throwaway phrase — that it becomes a policy.”
He added that without the PA, Israel’s army could be forced to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers to the West Bank “to fill the void.”
With a note of exasperation, he asked: “If there is a risk the the PA could collapse, and it is in Israel’s interests for it to in fact survive, should more therefore not be done to help sustain it?”