Thursday, September 3, 2015

After Abbas


So, as the Palestinian Authority becomes suspect because of their magical inability to hold elections in over a decade - time to day dream about what all hap hap happens when M'moud Abbas/Abu Mazen decides to bail out for his beach front villa in Qatar...

The Palestinian political scene has been preoccupied since the end of July with the succession of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and the subsequent concerns and worrying speculations about the future of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank in Abbas’ potential absence. There are concerns among Palestinians that the PA will be emptied of its political content, and that it will gradually be transformed into expanded municipal councils that fulfill service roles, like before the establishment of the PA in 1994.

  This scenario of the PA turning into municipal councils would stand in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state, as Palestinians consider the PA to be a prelude to a future state. Meanwhile, Israel would gradually retake control of Palestinians’ lives, with the efforts since the establishment of the PA going down the drain.

  Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and former minister of public works and housing, told Al-Monitor, “Israel is seeking to make Palestinians live in cantons and secluded areas in the absence of political components and the PA has become merely a name that does not span beyond an expanded municipality.”

     Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Masri, former officer at the Palestinian General Intelligence and head of the Palestinian Center for Strategic Studies, warned Aug. 15 against an Israeli plan to weaken the PA. In the upcoming stage, Israel will deal with municipalities and Palestinian parties in the West Bank directly, thus weakening the PA and costing it much of its legitimacy.

The Palestinian fears of the PA’s marginalization coincided with Israel’s warning that it will have to manage the situation in the West Bank after Abbas is no longer in the picture. Israeli commentator on Palestinian affairs Avi Issacharoff stated Aug. 17 in a Times of Israel article that Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who is the coordinator of the Palestinian territories’ affairs in the Israeli Defense Ministry, might be placed directly in charge of the West Bank’s affairs.

There are many possible scenarios for the PA’s future after Abbas. Therefore, Palestinian decision-makers are faced with tough questions: Will the PA, which was established as an interim authority until the establishment of the Palestinian state, end up at the mercy of Israel? Is the PA already governed by Israel? Or will it become a security entity affiliated with the Israeli military and its security apparatus soon after entering a political vacuum?