Israel can contend with the prospects of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and must not be intimidated by such a development, a group of former top-ranking IDF officers and security officials say.
A report submitted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in June while meeting with senior members of the Bitchonistim (Protectors of Israel), detailed the various options and scenarios in an event in which the PA collapses.
The report, which was submitted when the issue of an Israeli declaration of sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria was still on the table, a move that could have possibly led to the PA’s dissolve, was written by Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the Research Division at the IDF’s Intelligence Corps and former Director-General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, and signed by IDF Major Generals Yitzhak Gershon and Gershon HaCohen.
Israel, for years, has been fearing the PA’s fall, a scenario some believe would lead to anarchy and a severe security threat to Israel. Others have pointed to the financial burden such a development would generate.
The report states that “even if the preferred option for Israel is the continued existence of a functioning Palestinian Authority, the various alternatives, including that Israel will retain responsibility for the territory for a prolonged period of time, are not much less good.”
In addition, there is also reference to the economic aspects of the PA’s collapse and the impact of such an event on the PA’s struggle against Israel.
“First, the direct financial burden involved is not significant, and secondly, the Palestinian Authority will have difficulty continuing to advance the struggle against Israel with the tools it had at its disposal if it continued to control the territory,” the report asserted.
The document outlines five alternatives, from full Israeli control of the territory to Hamas taking over the PA’s assets, which is the worst alternative.
The document concludes that “In any case, Israel cannot be a hostage of the PA and make its existence and function a central element of its [Israel’s] security, especially as long as the PA adheres to the Palestinian narrative that ultimately calls for a defeat of Zionism and rejects any arrangement recognizing Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people.”
Brigadier General Amir Avivi, director-general of the Bitchonistim, stated Thursday that “Israel needs to prepare alternatives and prepare for the possibility of the disintegration of the PA and know that there are necessarily better alternatives, and this without harming the Israeli interest in not controlling the Palestinians.”