DEAD SEA, Jordan: The Palestinian Authority “may have to make a disappearing act” if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins the upcoming election, a chief negotiator has warned.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Jordan that the authority “cannot be sustained” if Netanyahu wins.
“The Palestinian Authority may have to (make) a disappearing act — it cannot be sustained,” he said.
“Netanyahu … wants a Palestinian Authority but without any authorities. Secondly, he wants a cost-free occupation, whereby today if you say something about settlements, or human-rights violations, or war crimes, or apartheid, you become anti-semite.
“Anti-semitism is evil, really. Anti-occupation is noble. And the mere fact that there are forces trying to say to anyone who criticises settlements that you’re anti-semitic, that’s very dangerous.”
Erekat said that the Trump administration, which is drawing up a peace plan for the Israel-Palestine conflict, was not seen as a partner by the Palestinian side.
The administration has “disqualified themselves from any role in the peace process whatsoever,” he said.
Michael Herzog, international fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the WEF panel that he did not have high expectations for the US peace plan.
“I do not hold my breath … I don’t think this plan, whatever is in it, will introduce a breakthrough,” he said.
Other speakers at the WEF panel included Terje Roed-Larsen, president of the International Peace Institute (IPI), and Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the RAND Corporation.
The debate took place a day after Netanyahu pledged to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins this week's election.
Settlements built on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War are deemed illegal by the international community and their ongoing construction is seen as a major barrier to peace.
Annexation could prove to be the death knell for the two-state solution.
Erekat said earlier that Netanyahu’s statement on annexation was “not surprising.”
“Israel will continue to brazenly violate international law for as long as the international community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump administration’s support,” he wrote on Twitter.