PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday issued a “presidential decree” sending eight provincial governors in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip to retirement, WAFA reported (Abbas Fires 8 of his 16 PA Governors).
The move is considered by experts in Israel to be Abbas’s way of preparing the PA for his departure, vertically or horizontally, and an effort to rid his government of rampant corruption to prevent a Hamas takeover.
In the Gaza Strip, the Governors of North Gaza, Gaza, Khan Yunis, and Rafah were sent to retirement.
In Judea and Samaria, Abbas retired the Governors of Jenin, Shechem, Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Tubas, and Jericho.
Chairman Abbas also issued a “presidential decree” forming a committee to select candidates for the vacated governorships and submit its recommendations to the Chairman for final approval.
Makor Rishon on Friday cited a political source in the Netanyahu government that suggested ongoing efforts to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and that end, senior Israeli officials have been talking to their counterparts in Ramallah. However, at the moment there is no date for an Israeli-PA meeting with American-Egyptian-Jordanian mediation, following the meetings that took place in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh about six months ago.
Mind you, in the two previous meetings with Israeli officials, the PA representatives demanded an end to “unilateral measures” by Israel, which included military operations in Area A, and the demolition of illegal structures in Area C. In other words, the PA expects Israel to permit terrorist organizing in areas under both Ramallah’s and Jerusalem’s control.
Probably not going to happen.
The strengthening measures that Israel is considering are primarily economic, such as the development of the gas field on the Gaza shore which was approved a few weeks ago.
Agriculture Minister and former Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter (Likud) stresses that the Palestinian Authority allocates about 7% of its budget to imprisoned terrorists’ salaries and to the families of terrorists who were killed, some of them in suicide attacks, to the tune of NIS 1.3 billion ($350 million) annually.
“The PA’s fake cries for help, as if they are on the verge of collapse without Israel releasing all their funds, are politically directed. The State of Israel needs to make sure that when it is being used as a conduit for the transfer of funds, they will have a clear target such as electricity and water.”
But some in the security apparatus are arguing that although the PA still pays terrorist salaries, these sums are offset by Israel, therefore, “you cannot punish them twice for the same thing.”
The Americans have insisted that Israel freeze whatever sums it blocks from being handed over to the PA, a move that would require the approval of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who voted against the measures to prevent the PA’s collapse.