Will the PA be forced to dissolve? The dangers of Palestinian recession

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Haaretz, 24.02.15

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If the PA could guarantee its residents a fair economic subsistence, even under Israeli occupation – it would be able to demand that they and the local and municipal councils pay their electricity bills. But the enormous debts to the IEC and the PA’s difficulties in meeting other payments, like to suppliers, hospitals and universities, are the direct and natural result of restrictions on the freedom of movement and development that Israel has forced upon the authority: The two million shekels the PA owes the IEC are dwarfed by the tens of billions that the Palestinian economy has lost just in the past eight years because of Israel’s restrictive and prohibitive policies.

Is the dissolution of the PA a solution? A member of Islamic Jihad told Haaretz last week, “I detest the PA. Its existence is a disaster, but its dismantlement would be a greater disaster.”

For all their shortcomings, the Palestinian security apparatuses, he added, “maintain internal security within Palestinian society. They restrain and quash conflicts between clans and other groups, which tend to proliferate in times of crisis and of a loss if faith in the political system.” It is sufficient to look at the difference between Area B, in which it is forbidden for Palestinian police to operate, and Area A (which is under full Palestinian control): The Palestinian police cannot enforce laws in Area B (in locales including A-Ram, Abu Dis or Kafr Aqab), where illegal construction that violates safety regulations and rules runs rampant and criminals find refuge.

If because of the economic blows it is suffering the PA would dismantle itself – along with it the police and internal security apparatuses – rival armed militias representing opposing clan interests would fill the vacuum. Like the sewage in Gaza, which goes untreated because of Israeli restrictions and ends up on Israeli beaches, so would the deterioration of internal Palestinian security not stop at the borders of Area A enclaves.