As the Palestinian Authority (PA) loses further legitimacy, it holds tight to its occupying boss, strangely HUrting the Palestinians of both the West Bank and Gaza, using tactics which may lead to a new Israeli war on Gaza.
The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is reportedly set to meet with Israel’s newly instated President, Isaac Herzog, and has reached out to begin “peace negotiations” again under an old framework. Yet, even Israel’s more moderate leader Yair Lapid, who had stated to the European Union that he is in favor of a two-State solution, accepts that it is currently impossible.
On top of this, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has gone on record as being staunchly against any such two-State solution and believes that the bible gives Israel the right to annex the illegally occupied West Bank, which he calls “Judea and Samaria”.
Since his forces tortured to death a well known PA dissident, Nizar Banat, the rule of President Abbas seems to have come into real question throughout the occupied West Bank that the PA partially manages. It has even been speculated by Israeli analysts that there could soon be a revolution to overthrow the PA President.
Despite knowing the dangerous road they are heading down, the PA continues to further provoke its own people and refuses to lift even a finger against Israel’s provocative moves. The Israeli government just withheld funds which legally belong to the Palestinian Authority, used to pay salaries to the families of political prisoners held in Israeli military prisons.
There has been debate upon the withholding of these funds by Israel however, with Israel’s Wala News reporting that Senior Israeli political figures have urged the government during the latest cabinet meeting to delay implementing the planned confiscation of funds, stating that the PA should now be strengthened by Israel instead. The calls from the Israeli political establishment come as growing support for Hamas builds amongst the Palestinian public, over the PA which is seen as useless.
What Israeli politicians do not seemingly understand, nor does the PA seem to demonstrate it understands either, is that the growing support for Hamas has nothing to do with its political maneuvering. The growth in support for Hamas amongst Palestinians comes due to it being the leading party for armed resistance. As long as the PA does not stand up to Israel, Palestinians will not support it. Support from Palestinian society will not come for an organisation unless it is actively engaged in combating Israel’s occupation and crimes, specifically in East Jerusalem and at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
In order for Israel to strengthen the PA, it must direct the PA to wage armed resistance against it, a move that it will not do. Palestinians are not a stupid people, the only ways Israel can possibly work to prop up the PA is to perhaps manufacture a change in its leadership, and most fundamentally, alleviate the growing economic crisis so that Palestinians in the West Bank will be granted a more stable lifestyle.
Another alarming aspect to the PA’s recent activity is how it may indeed factor into another escalation between armed groups in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Qatar had recently pledged 500 million in aid money, to be sent to Gaza to help ease the humanitarian crisis and facilitate rebuilding the Strip after Israel targeted its key infrastructure. However, the Israeli government of Naftali Bennet had decided to change the mechanism through which aid money from Qatar enters Gaza, approving a transfer through the United Nations to reach the impoverished besieged coastal enclave.
The Palestinian Authority, according to sources close with Arabi21 News, has rejected allowing the aid donations from entering through the newly proposed mechanism. The Israeli effort to change the way the construction and aid effort would manifest was in and of itself problematic and created outrage with the Hamas government in Gaza, but the new step from the PA has perhaps inflamed tensions further. The Palestinian Authority has also applied its own sanctions upon the people of the Gaza Strip, having since 2018 refused to pay for fuel entering Gaza.
The refusal to pay for fuel has led to the further deterioration of Gaza’s electricity crisis, which has its impacts on a long range of sectors within the civilian and economic spheres. The PA also uses the salaries of its members in the Gaza Strip as a form of applying pressure too, with most of its members in Gaza receiving only portions of their assigned salaries for the past three years now.
Former Deputy Chief of Staff for Israel’s military, Eli Zamir, recently stressed that Israel is leading itself down a road of escalation and warned that Israel’s military – facing threats on multiple fronts – is now at a low point in terms of its preparedness.
Although the PA is being aided by Israel and a number of steps have been taken, especially in coordination with Jordan to ease the burden on the PA, little has yet materialized for the regime of Mahmoud Abbas. If the PA does not come up with some radical changes and shifts in their approach to Israel, it may be a matter of time before the West Bank explodes into mass revolts against both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the Gaza Strip again entering armed conflict with Israel.