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The End of the PA?

A joint lecture at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy concludes the PA is troubled and Hamas in Gaza is as strong as ever.
By Scott Krane
First Publish: 10/11/2012, 1:45 AM

Palestinian Authority flag
Palestinian Authority flag
Flash 90

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy recently held a one hour lecture entitled: “The Future of the Palestinian Authority, is collapse an option?” It was hosted by Israeli TV political personality Ehud Ya’ari and George Washington University political science professor, Nathan Brown.

Ya’ari claimed that in Hevron, Jenin and in East Jerusalem, the people are protesting and attacking the Palestinian Authority-appointed governors. “They don’t dare arrest” the people making trouble, Ya’ari said. "People are seeking Israeli citizenship,” he added.

“The Palestinians are retreating…from the concept of the two-state solution…this is what is happening and it is happening at an accelerated pace.” He said that “the Palestinian state is a punitive construct…But if there is a retreat from the two-state solution then there is a question mark hanging over the head of the PA [sic].”

“My argument is that the PA is in real danger of collapse…and the main reason is because of bankruptcy,” he said. “The debt of the treasury is over $1.5 billion. No independent banks will extend any loans to the Palestinian Authority. The UAE is not paying them, and Qatar is giving money to Gaza and not to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria -ed). The World Bank was very optimistic about…Fayadism…but at this point instead of reducing the independence of the PA…50% of GDP of the West Bank is donor money. The world bank in its last report wrote that further growth is unsustainable unless you can bring the private sector…into function.”

He concluded that “the PA is still in dire straits…It is indispensible to…a two-state solution [sic].”

In looking forward he said there is a “possibility of linking the West Bank to Jordan.”

Nathan Brown, however, says that a Palestinian Authority collapse is actually quite “unlikely.” However, he does admit the “Palestinian Authority is not leading to statehood.” He said, “The current Palestinian leadership on the West Bank has no strategy.”

In related news, the British Independent reported “The Palestinian Authority, facing a major cash crisis, has warned 150,000 employees it does not know when they will receive their September salaries.” This includes civil servants, doctors, police, teachers, etc. “The crunch has been caused largely by the failure of international donors to make good on aid pledges.” The report said, “The crisis threatens to derail reforms by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's government, which has implemented major budget savings and increased tax revenues, heralding a dramatic improvement in the Palestinian economy in recent years.”

Meanwhile, the Hamas budget has risen to close to $800 million, collecting more from independent donors and investors than the struggling PA in the areas of Judea and Samaria over which it was given control.

“The [Hamas] governance in [Gaza] is quite impressive.” said Ehud Ya'ari during the conference. Hamas states openly that it intends to destroy Israel.