Netanyahu: We need the Palestinian Authority but forget about a Palestinian state

The prime minister was discussing preparations for “the day after Abbas.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confidentially told a Knesset committee that the government is planning for “the day after” Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority, Kan Reshet Bet reported Monday.

At the same meeting, he opposed any support for a Palestinian state.

He did not come out categorically against the PA when speaking in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

“We are preparing for the day after Abbas,” he said. “We need the Palestinian Authority. We cannot allow it to collapse. We also do not want it to collapse. We are prepared to help it financially. We have an interest in the Authority continuing to function; in the places where it manages to function it’s doing the job for us.”

“We have no interest in it falling,” he repeated.

On the other hand, he also said “categorically,” according to the report, “We have to eliminate their aspiration for a state.”

There are some voices on the Right that disagree that the PA is worth propping up – even in its current, less-than-state form. Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, for example, has openly called the Authority a “terrorist” group that not only allows, but also encourages anti-Israel attacks.

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Others are fearful that if the PA fails, Hamas will swoop in, and having an Islamist, rejectionist, Iranian proxy on both Israel’s east and western borders would be far worse for the nation’s security.

Abbas, 88 and in the 19th year of his four-year term, is reportedly in poor health. Two weeks ago, the Lebanon-based, pro-Syrian Al-Akhbar newspaper cited multiple Fatah officials who claimed that Abbas’ medical condition has deteriorated to the point where he has often been left incapable of fulfilling his duties as PA chairman.

Late last year, reports surfaced of Palestinian-Egyptian-Jordanian meetings on how to keep the PA from collapsing in the event of Abbas’ death. There are several rival factions within the Authority, and it is not at all sure that open warfare would be prevented as their various leaders all want to occupy his office.