Foreign diplomats warn Israel that PA is ‘in meltdown’ or ‘verge of collapse’

Foreign diplomats have warned Israeli officials that attempts to undermine the Palestinian Authority (PA), including by the withholding of tax revenues collected on the PA’s behalf, are increasing the “possibility of a flare-up” in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

According to the Haaretz report, diplomats believe “the PA is already in meltdown or on the verge of collapse”, citing “the succession struggles among Abbas’ potential heirs”, cuts in US funding to UNRWA and other groups in the oPt, and “diminished support in the West Bank for Abbas’ regime”.

US decision to cut UNRWA funding – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The diplomats have told Israel that the PA “is like a wounded animal trapped in a corner”, and that “now, following the security cabinet’s decision, Israel will take a sharp stick and thrust it into the PA’s eye”.

OPINION: The Palestinian Authority must change if it is not to collapse

“The PA might die, but before that it will muster all its strength to ensure that Israel also suffers,” the report continued.

According to the Haaretz article, “that’s extremely barbed, highly unusual language for diplomats, and it’s being used by people who are involved in what’s taking place between the sides”, adding that “a similar analysis, perhaps lacking some of the imagery, can also be heard from senior security officials in Israel.”

Overall, the report says, the foreign diplomats “are telling Israel: Don’t be in a rush. Wait until after the election because the cut in funds will aggravate the PA’s situation and could hasten a conflagration in Gaza, too.”