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Israel to discuss measures to boost PA

Security officials have warned the government of the Palestinian Authority's possible collapse.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at P.A. headquarters in Ramallah, May 5, 2020. Credit: Flash90.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at P.A. headquarters in Ramallah, May 5, 2020. Credit: Flash90.

The Israeli Security Cabinet on Sunday will discuss a series of economic and defense measures to boost the Palestinian Authority amid the deteriorating security situation in Judea and Samaria, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

The agenda will include the possible approval of a new industrial zone in Tarqumiyah, near Hebron, as well as easing the timeline for Ramallah’s debt repayments and freedom of movement for top P.A. officials.

In June, Israel green-lighted the development of a natural gas field off the coast of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

According to Channel 13, Israeli security officials warned the government that the moves needed to be implemented quickly to prevent the P.A.’s possible collapse.

The initiative is also intended to weaken Iran-backed terror proxies Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in P.A.-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, according the reports.

Last Monday, the IDF launched a major counterterror operation in Jenin, including the entry into the Samaria city of significant ground forces.

More than 1,000 IDF troops participated in the two-day campaign, which is believed to be the largest deployment in Judea and Samaria in two decades.

Israel’s public broadcaster reported last month that Ramallah was mulling declaring bankruptcy, a decision that would entail the complete closure of official offices and thus lead to possible instability given that the P.A. is the largest employer in the areas under its control.

A large number of Palestinian security personnel have already resigned and are looking for work in the private sector, according to the report. In recent months, they have been receiving 80% of their salaries, and many have gone into debt, upon which the banks close their accounts.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset panel recently that the P.A. would not be allowed to fail.

“We need the Palestinian Authority. We cannot allow it to collapse. We also do not want it to collapse. We are ready to help it financially. We have an interest in the P.A. continuing to work. Where it succeeds in operating, it does the job for us. And we have no interest in it falling,” said Netanyahu.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has announced that he will not support the proposal, which he called “delusional,” and called on Cabinet members to reject it.

“I intend to strongly oppose at the Cabinet meeting the shameful decision to grant concessions and benefits to the Palestinian Authority,” the minister clarified.

“There is no greater absurdity than the fact that a body that encourages terrorism, pays salaries to terrorists and their families, encourages in the education system incitement in favor of the murder of Jews, takes over territories in Judea and Samaria, will win a basket of rewards from the Israeli government in the midst of a wave of terrorism.”

Gush Etzion Regional Council mayor and Yesha Council chairman Shlomo Ne’eman also harshly criticized the idea of propping up the P.A.

“After we buried two heroes this past week in the campaign against terrorism, the political-security cabinet plans to award prizes to the Palestinian Authority. Have those in charge here gone crazy? These policies strengthen terrorism and must not continue,” said Ne’eman in a statement on Saturday night.

“We demand from the prime minister and all of the ministers in the political-security cabinet not to approve benefits and gifts to the terrorist authority tomorrow, but to continue to act with a heavy hand as was done in Jenin. The Palestinian Authority is not the solution to security issues, but it, and no other, is the source of all the problems,” he continued.

“Only heavy-handed action against the P.A. and continued construction, expansion and strengthening of communities in Judea and Samaria will restore peace to the region,” concluded Ne’eman.

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