Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/POOL
Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin

Absorption Minsiter Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said on Monday that the Palestinian Authority and the Oslo Accords-based arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians are bound to collapse with the demise of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Speaking at a Bar Ilan University forum, Elkin said, “the question is not if the Authority will collapse but when.” He cautioned that “if we don’t prepare ourselves for the collapse of the Authority, reality will force itself on us and the price will be very heavy.” He also confessed that he has “despaired of generating a serious discussion of the PA collapse in closed [cabinet] sessions” and so opted to bring the issue to the public’s attention.

“The PA, which owes its existence to Mahmoud Abbas, who pushed for the Oslo agreement and was responsible for this dramatic change, will vanish from the map once he is gone,” Elkin insisted.

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Elkin believes the collapse will happen between “a month or two and a year or two” from now. He reminded his audience that Israeli Intelligence elements have historically tend to be captives of common conceptions, which only until recently included the belief there was no chance that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak would ever be toppled.

Indeed, back in 1973, Israel’s government and security apparatus were convinced the Egyptians would never dare cross the Suez Canal into the Israeli-owned Sinai.

According to Elkin, “the PA leadership has been diverting popular rage against us, which foretells things to come in the PA. An entire generation grew up on hatred towards us under the PA and we did not treat it seriously. With the end of the Abbas era there will be a leadership crisis at the PA, without an accepted heir or an organized mechanism for succession. Abbas’s rule over the PA is weakening. There’s open discussion of the succession question. His status is damaged in opinion polls. Should there be an election, there’s a reasonable chance that Hamas will win and not the PLO, and this is the reason Abbas has not run in an election.”

In fact, the last time Abbas won an election was 2005, and he never tried it again. His four-year term has now lasted 11 years.

Elkin concluded, “I didn’t come here to bury the PA as an Israeli enterprise, but to present an internal situation in the Palestinian Authority for which we and the world are not prepared. If the PA should collapse, no one else would remain in charge. We would have to provide a response to needs such as health, education, everything. Even if we don’t like it, that’s reality.”

MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Camp – Labor) whose exalted father, General Haim Bar-Lev, was among the major believers in the 1973 conception and engaged the IDF in a 6-year war of Attrition in the Sinai, parroted the party line that the only answer to the problems Elkin presented was the two-state solution. Alas, Like the Bourbons in their heyday, the Left in Israel has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

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