Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel needs the Palestinian Authority. Sorry, Mr. Prime Minister, but I respectfully disagree. And I don’t disagree with you too often.
The P.A. is an epic failure. It doesn’t work for the Palestinians and it definitely doesn’t work for Israel. The P.A. was created by the Oslo Accords as an interim authority for the Palestinian autonomous areas established by the agreements. Many assumed an independent Palestinian state would eventually replace it, even though the Oslo Accords never guaranteed statehood to the Palestinians.
Indeed, if anyone wants proof of why the Palestinians cannot be allowed to have a state of their own in the foreseeable future, they need look no further than the P.A.
For one thing, the P.A. can’t even control the territory under its jurisdiction. In 2007, it lost control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas. Now, it is rapidly losing control of its territory in Samaria. Jenin and Nablus, the two largest cities in Samaria under P.A. control, are being taken over by terrorists. New terrorist groups like Lion’s Den and Al-Ayyash have emerged to challenge the P.A.’s authority. By the P.A.’s own admission, the Iranians have already established a foothold in their territory—a development that is extremely dangerous for Israel.
Crumbling P.A. control in Samaria has led to increased terrorist attacks like the recent one near the Israeli community of Eli. The P.A.’s failure to control its territory has forced Israel to make increasingly frequent raids into P.A. territory in order to try and root out the terrorists taking refuge there. The current security situation is untenable, which is one of the reasons the P.A. has to go.
Another reason is that the P.A. is horribly managed. Corruption is rampant. P.A. employees are not even paid their full wages, although P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas still finds plenty of money to pay terrorists and their families very generous monthly salaries for killing Jews. Abbas has gone on record saying, “We will neither reduce nor prevent [payment] of allowances to the families of martyrs, prisoners, and released prisoners, as some seek, and if we had only a single penny left, we would pay it to families of the martyrs and prisoners.”
There is no accountability in the P.A. There have been no elections since 2006. Abbas is now in the 19th year of his four-year term. The Palestinian Legislative Council, which was last elected in 2006, was dissolved in 2018, and Abbas has ruled by presidential decree ever since. The P.A. strongly resembles other Arab dictatorships, with severe restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the press. There is arbitrary arrest, torture, enforced disappearances and pretty much everything else typical of those dictatorships. In a recent poll, 80% of Palestinians said they wanted Abbas to resign. In March, a poll found that 52% of Palestinians thought it would be a good thing if the P.A. collapsed. Even the Palestinians want to get rid of the P.A.
Israelis shouldn’t want the P.A. to endure either. Some say that the P.A.’s security coordination with Israel is vital for stopping terrorism. But clearly, it hasn’t worked very well, as Israelis experience an average of 5,000 terrorist attacks per year.
Moreover, the Palestine Center for Strategic Studies recently released statistics showing that about two-thirds of the terrorists who have died in the recent wave of terrorism in Judea and Samaria are from Abbas’s Fatah party and most of them were members of the P.A.’s security forces. So, if most of the recent terrorism that Israelis have had to suffer from comes from Abbas’s P.A., why should Israel allow the PA to continue to exist?
Israel should replace the P.A. and take complete control of its territory so that terrorists in Judea and Samaria have no place to take refuge. Once Israel has done this, the Israeli government should immediately set about building a new Palestinian authority from the ground up, just as the Allies rebuilt Germany after deposing the Nazis.
One of the first things Israel should do is revamp the Palestinian education system, which now brainwashes Palestinian children to hate and murder innocent Jews. Palestinians, young and old, need to be taught to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors and accept the existence of the State of Israel. Otherwise, there will never be peace.
It will very likely take a long time, but once the Palestinians learn to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors and stop committing acts of terrorism against them, they can gradually be given more autonomy. I stress the word “gradual” because Israel must never again make the same mistake it did when it signed the Oslo Accords and gave the Palestinians far more autonomy than they were ready for.
Originally published by Israel Hayom.