Reports in the Israeli media have expressed concern that the coronavirus crisis will cause the collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Right-wing daily Israel Hayom, citing an unnamed “senior PA official”, reported that the Palestinian economy “is almost entirely incapable of enduring such a crisis”.
“Without basic income and economic prospects, self-employed Palestinians and the majority of households in the PA appear closer than ever to collapse”, the report added.
According to “concerned senior PA officials”, such a collapse could occur “in the span of a few days”.
Palestinian officials further “believe the devastation of the healthcare and economic systems” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip “increases the odds of security incidents”.
There is also “the extreme scenario whereby hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from PA areas and Gaza will look to escape into Israel in an attempt to save their lives and their loved ones”.
While cooperation and coordination between Israeli occupation authorities and the PA is being maintained at present, “senior PA officials say the outcome is inevitable”.
Israel Hayom added that the question isn’t “if the healthcare and economic systems will collapse but when”.
The newspaper noted that Palestinian households have grown “accustomed to living with monthly bank debt, generous credit frameworks and overdraft at low-interest rates in the assumption that the economic prosperity, higher wages, and low unemployment wouldn’t disappear in an instant”.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has shut down and minimised “economic activity and markets in the PA, whose economy and financial system are highly dependent on the Israeli economy and market situation”.