Should Israel Let the Palestinian Authority Fail?

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


…our people have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in Occupied East Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement.

What permits the Israeli government to blatantly continue with its aggressive policies and the perpetration of war crimes stems from its conviction that it is above the law and that it has immunity from accountability and consequences….

Thus Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas characterized Israel in speaking to the UN General Assembly on November 29, part of his successful bid for the West Bank and Gaza to be recognized by that body as a “state.” His words were consistent with incendiary calumnies heaped on Israel throughout the Arab world and in much of the Muslim world.

There is, though, a difference: that it is Israel that keeps Abbas and his PA afloat. Along with the United States and the European Union, Israel gives Abbas the financial support without which his institutions would collapse. And it is Israeli security forces in the West Bank, in cooperation—at least until recently—with Abbas’s own security forces, that keep the West Bank from being taken over by Gaza-based Hamas.

This radical instance of biting the hand that feeds one naturally raises the question of whether Israel has to keep sustaining an entity that shows its gratitude by attacking it diplomatically and cultivating generations of hatred. The question is further sharpened by a recent escalation of anti-Israeli violence in the West Bank (see here, here, and here) amid reports that PA security forces have stopped arresting Hamas operatives there and “no longer seem…motivated to curb their activities in the area.”

One of Israel’s sharper analysts—Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA)—says: enough already.

Interviewed by Israel’s Besheva Hebrew-language weekly (translation here) the same week that Abbas gave his General Assembly address, Inbar said he was “not too upset” by Abbas’s UN move. He explained:

The Palestinian Authority is a fictional entity. It continues to exist only because of the IDF, and if we are not there, Hamas will take over take the place. I’m not sure it is right for us to continue to support the Palestinian Authority. We should let it fall apart….

Inbar went on to note that the Palestinian Authority “makes claims against us…runs an anti-Israel campaign all over the world…educates its people toward hatred of Israel…. We have to let them fail.”

When the interviewer noted the “concern that Hamas will take over the area,” Inbar responded:

We will not allow Hamas to take over the area. We will rule…. We should prepare to put up with some disturbances, and stop paying lip service to the paradigm of two states for two peoples. It simply does not work because there is no partner on the other side.

Asked whether, in terms of international law, Israel would not still be held responsible for the Palestinian population, Inbar replied:

There’s no need for us to be responsible for them. I am not prepared to be responsible for the food that comes or does not come to them. It’s their problem, not ours. What, must I take care of the whole world? We left their big cities in 1996 and that’s it…. If they want to be nice to us then we’ll help them, if not then we won’t…. Yes. There would be international pressure and we will withstand it. If the Europeans want to help them, let them help them…. We should not help our enemies.

It should be noted, first, that right after Inbar’s interview and Abbas’s speech, the Netanyahu government took two measures: announcing stepped-up building plans in parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank, including the heavily contested E1 area near Jerusalem; and suspending the month’s transfer of tax payments to the PA, using the money instead to pay the PA’s enormous debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.

Naturally, the worldwide diplomatic condemnation was unanimous and particularly nasty from Europe with its burgeoning Muslim populations and tight commercial ties with Arab states. To its credit, the Netanyahu government said it was going ahead with the measures anyway, though to what extent the building plans for E1 are just declaratory or will really be fulfilled remains to be seen.

Second, Inbar’s interview is not, of course, a systematic position paper and leaves some questions open—particularly whether Israel’s retaking full security control of the West Bank would pass the cost-benefit test. Israel’s security establishment has reportedly told Netanyahu such a redeployment would add some $3.15 billion to Israel’s annual budget—at a time when Israel’s fiscal discipline is the envy of most of the West and a paramount Israeli interest.

On the other hand, if the current disturbances continue and Abbas’s forces continue to prove useless or actively collusive with Hamas, Israel will have little choice but to crack down and this question may answer itself.

Third, barring such a scenario, Netanyahu—a cautious leader who faces much graver security challenges from the Syrian and, most of all, Iranian directions, and wants to get along as much as possible with a difficult occupant of the White House for another four years—is not likely to take any drastic steps toward the PA for the time being, even if he emerges from Israel’s January 22 elections with a more hawkish coalition.

Still, the questions Inbar raises are acute. Israel faces a morally upside-down world where it is damned for taking military, economic, or any other steps against sworn enemies who, in turn, are coddled and excused. The question is how long, as the PA keeps biting its helping hand, Israel can engage in morally upside-down behavior.

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  • Larry

    Why should Israel supply anything but high velocity lead poisoning or massive over pressure to people who want to destroy Israel and kill all its people?

    • MaryS, CA

      I agree, cut them off just like you cut the head of a snake off, marys

  • Shalom Freedman

    This is an outstanding article which considers the difficult choices Israel has in dealing with the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. However it should be pointed out that major moves made by Israel to transform the situation with the Palestinians, including the Oslo accords and the withdrawal from Gaza have worsened Israel's situation. It might be best to tolerate the Palestinian Authority if that is they do not begin to initiate violence.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The scuttlebutt is always this – if the PA falls, who will take its place, Hamas? And this i slike asking:do you want to die a slow death or a quick one, or better yet, pick your poison!

    David, it is decidedly the case that their UN gambit certainly gives Israel the impetus to abrogate the Oslo Peace/Death Accords, simply because their putsch violated its basis! Alas, Israel's deluded, Oslo Syndrome-afflicted leaders do not have the gumption to do the right thing, at least for their majority Jewish citizens!

    But never mind. Even the following should put the nail in the PA's coffi nhttp://adinakutnicki.com/2012/09/27/another-arab-leader-spills-the-beans-the-palestinians-as-a-separate-people-do-not-exist-adina-kutnicki/ but that would mean statesmen would have to be at the helm.
    Pigs don't fly….
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://www.adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Choi

      @Adina:
      TRUTH be told,the PA ONLY exists because of and part of "Oslo".
      Since "Oslo' is DEAD,so should the PA be DEAD.

    • JacksonPearson

      Other than death and destruction, soldiers of Allah have contributed nothing to the betterment of mankind. Meanwhile, over in tiny Israel, they're working on their 159th Nobel Prize, and a cure for cancer..

  • Mary Sue

    The Palestinian Authority should be immediately cut off from all funding.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "The Palestinian Authority should be immediately cut off from all funding."

      How about we cut off their existence on this planet?

      :>)

      • Mary Sue

        That would be even better!

  • WildJew

    Hamas jihadists are more honest than Fatah jihadists. Hamas comes right out and plainly states they want to obliterate Israel's Jews. Fatah says, "Let's make peace," and then when they have Israel where they want her and the Jews are vulnerable, they will do what Hamas openly declares they are going to do. Why should Israel continue to prop-up these peoples?

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Every one has heard of car jacking and in the Israeli Palestinian situation the so called Palestinians
    have taken car jacking to and unbelievable level of Nation jacking. Why in the name of all that is
    Holy would Israel pay those who intend to destroy it, the Palestinians have already degraded the
    standard of living and quality of life of all Israelis and those Arabs under the control of the PLO
    and Hammas. How is it possible with the unbelievable history of assault and murder perpetrated
    by Arafat and all other terrorist Palestinians which is a people completely dedicated to the
    destruction and murder of every Israeli can Israeli support them. Let the insane situation end,
    let th funds go to strengthening Israel who will be attacked again and again until and unless
    they destroy the agressors………………………………..William

    • Larry

      What do you expect, the PLO under Arafat and his second, abu mazeed (aka Abbas) invented airline hijacking, they've just stepped the size of their target up a few notches.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Exactly and what I expect is for Israel to not let the "Palestinians succeed"………
        Israel must quit aiding and abetting PLO and Hamas crimes………….William

    • Choi

      @William
      Speaking of Arafat,this WHOLE FARCE re: his death and exhumation is designed to ACCUSE Israel and "Martyr" Arafat.
      The TRUE cause of Arafat's death does NOT a "Martyr" make.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Choi it could be a fine ghoul movie "Digging up Arafat" Bollywood could do it,
        night and day the dead dead and staying that way. The farce is now and art form
        for Islamists, the grand theatre of the absurd….Arafat is the new bogeyman of
        Friday night horror movies………how ghoulish to see him now on film. Ridiculing
        the frauds and bringing the world to laugh at them could get the point over that
        they are a charade, pure farce………………………….William

  • Snorbak

    As a christian, & I know the following comment makes me a hypocrite, however; "screw em".
    These pathetic people hate everything, including themselves, Israel should cut them loose from all support whilst giving the UN, the EU & the US the finger!

    • Mary Sue

      actually I don't think it does make you a hypocrite.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      These people are evil and as a Christian you must fight it and abhor it, denouncing
      the vileness of it 24/7…………they are the villians in this age and are the dark side of
      life, we know Israel is in the right and fully deserving of our support………….William

  • clarespark

    As always, the left and its intellectuals are among the worst enemies of Israel. See what the late Eric Hobsbawm had to say here: http://clarespark.com/2012/12/08/hobsbawm-obama-i…. "Hobsbawm, Obama, Israel." In his book AGE OF EXTREMES, Hobsbawm even doubted that there were as many as five million murdered in the Holocaust. He never missed an opportunity to diss Jews.

    • Choi

      @clarespark
      Don't worry,.Hobsbawm is roasting on a spit in Hell.

      • clarespark

        Hobsbawm is dead, but his narrative of modern history is replicated in the schools and in the liberal media. It is a powerful internationalist narrative that helped re-elect Barack Obama. Don't think that his work is obsolete.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    There has never been a civilization or a nation referred to as "Palestine" and the very notion of a "Palestinian Arab nation" having ancient attachments to the Holy Land going back to time immemorial is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon the world!

    The Arabs and/or Muslims of today control 22 nations… 99½ percent of the ENTIRE Middle East land mass while Israel occupies only a 1/2 of 1 percent speck on a map.

    But that's still too much land for the PLO to spare.

    Islam & the PLO want it all.

    PLO: POUND SAND!

  • Drakken

    Cut off all funds, water, electricity and food. When their starving and sitting in the dark hungry and cold, they will either go full jihad and then it will be easier to eliminate them, or they will get a taste of reality and make peace. My bet is they will go full jihad. So I say fk them and love ours, let the palis perish.

  • The Golani Snowman

    Begin with stopping playing Santa Claus to Hamas. I do not know exactly, why is Abbas supposed to pay for water and electricity but Hamas getting it for free??? No electricity to them and tell all NGOs that they have one month to change their logistics and take everything via Egypt. They can as well ship to El Arish as to Ashkelon, and then hire a couple of camels for the 50-km trip to Rafah. Where EU is supposed to control the flow of things via http://www.eubam-rafah.eu Why they instead sit in Ashkelon drinking cold Israeli beerf – ah well – could be explained.

  • Ghostwriter

    Sadly,the Palestinians have done NOTHING to justify giving them a state. While I don't want murder,they have to learn that terrorism has a price. If they wanted peace,they would have had their state long ago if they weren't so busy blowing up other people. They haven't earned their state and until they grow up and start acting like responsible people,they'll never get one.

  • Thomas

    God wants To whip ALL country's At one time, Not just part.

    • Nancy

      What a day that will be.

  • David R

    Ideally it would be desirable if both Arab terrorist factions destroy themselves. There are several examples in the Bible where God had them turn against each other without Israel not even lifting a finger.
    But the God of the blessed Jews has other plans…called Armageddon, and very soon all Jew-hating nations will be gathered in the Valley of Meggido for the carnage…where God's Messiah will intervene and destroy Israel's enemies without the Jews even raising a finger!

  • Chanameel

    My question AFTER 9/ 11 was…

    Why didn't we just microwave the "muslim world" from space?

    Then, they would think that it was "Allah" that heard their prayers.

    Answer: "We. Saudi Arabia, are much stonger than Israel."

  • carrie

    Israel should not pay for anything to do with Palestine .
    Or any other muslim country that spews antisemitism .
    They've made it clear they plan to destroy Israel .You don't finance the people trying to exterminate you,unless you are an idiot European.

    Palestine should have all financial aid cut off. 70% of that money is used to fund terrorism ,buy weapons and train children to hate. If they actually had to work for a living they wouldn't have time to build bombs and debate murdering Jews.

  • hmurveit

    The solution is simple. Annex Judea and Samaria Now. Show the hostiles the door, prison or a funeral and the friendlies a green card.