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PA facing dissolution or dismantlement

December 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Israel is threatening to dismantle the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it prevents the Israeli occupation of the West Bank; while the Ramallah leadership is hinting at dissolving the PA if it fails to pass the draft bill to end the occupation at the UN Security Council. This means that Israel wants the PA to “beautify” the occupation and reduce its costs, while the Palestinians are counting on turning the PA into a state. And yet, neither is Israel willing to end the occupation nor are the Palestinians willing to abandon their dream of a state and self-determination.

If the PA were not the nucleus of the new Palestinian state, then it has no real reason for existing. It seems that the dissolution or dismantlement of the PA is the only common denominator between the two parties currently engaged in agreements in Oslo and Washington.

Palestinians have never been supporters of the dissolution of the PA and have repeatedly called for the reconsideration of its function in the political system and national Palestinian movement. In addition, ending the PA’s security coordination with Israel (as it has threatened to do if its statehood bid fails) would also effectively put an end to its functional purpose in Israeli eyes. Since Israel has already pledged to take responsibility for the dismantling of the PA in such a case, why should the responsibility fall on Palestinian shoulders and why is Ramallah getting involved in the dispute?

In any case, the decision to dissolve or dismantle the PA is not an easy one for many Palestinians, who have become accustomed to living under the current system. The situation on the ground in Gaza, in light of the current unemployment crisis, shows how difficult and painful a decision such as this could prove. However, at the end of the day, the Palestinians will find themselves facing two options: either keep the PA and remain trapped in a state of dependency, or resort to the option of confrontation with the occupation, including all its requirements, such as the dissolution of the PA and bearing the catastrophic economic and social burdens that will result from this.

The delusion the PA is continues to harbour under – that the national rights of the Palestinians can be restored by sitting at the negotiating table with Israel under the exclusive auspices of the US – has driven the Authority to act as a pseudo-state. It has also led the PA to continue its hypocrisy and create a clientele relationship with its citizens, thus putting the Palestinian people in a predicament where they have to choose between several difficult, bitter and limiting options.

Moreover, the delusion of establishing state institutions while under, an idea adopted by Dr Salam Fayyad’s government, is what contributed to creating a consumer economy and encouraged the culture of consumption at the expense of the culture of production in a nation that is still living under occupation. General Dayton, along with Tony Blair, succeeded in creating a new generation of Palestinian people burdened with bank loans, immersed in a culture of consumption, and distanced from their basic options in resisting and confronting the resistance. Today, Palestinians are paying the heaviest price for this dependence and its disappointing delusions.

If the Palestinians had succeeded in building a “resistance economy” before the establishment of the PA, an economy that could enable them to cling to their land and exercise all forms of resistance, then their current situation, especially in the West Bank, would be very different today. These days, we no longer see any traces of the local economy that used to be dependent on agriculture, crafts, small businesses and local industries. Instead, we see a white collar generation that has distanced the Palestinians from their national movement and from their basic concerns and priorities.

To sum up, current developments in the Palestinian arena may well attempt to turn back the hands of time to before 1994 and before the establishment of the PA. If this is not a decision made by the Palestinians themselves, then it will be an Israeli decision since Israel’s conditions for the existence of the PA have always been to not allow it to play any role that may end the occupation in 1967. It is likely that such a scenario will place the Palestinian cause and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the threshold of a qualitatively new stage, and only time will tell what that will be.

Translated from Addustour newspaper, 30 December, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.