Arguments rage over future of Palestinian Authority

Nabil Shaath. (AFP)
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Updated 30 June 2020

Arguments rage over future of Palestinian Authority

  • Shaath did not rule out the outbreak of a new intifada as one of the Palestinian tools, and said if Israel insisted on its plan, which he described as “criminal colonialism,” there were no “rules for confrontation and resistance”

GAZA CITY: As the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah considers how to respond to the Israeli annexation plan, leading figures have insisted that the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not an option, as the PA represents “a national achievement and the nucleus of the future Palestinian state.”
Nabil Shaath, the personal representative of President Mahmoud Abbas and his adviser on international relations who was one of the architects of the Oslo Accords that set up the Palestinian Authority in 1993, is considered one of the Palestinian leaders most committed to the survival of PA.
Asked if the leadership was considering dissolving the PA, Shaath said: “This option is unacceptable and we do not think about it at all. What is required instead is to work to strengthen it vis-a-vis the United States and Israel.”
The annexation plan, which was approved by the Israeli government with American support, targets about 30 percent of the West Bank. Analysts say it would totally destroy the “two-state solution” and the Palestinian dream of establishing an independent state on the territories occupied in 1967.
Shaath believed that the Palestinian people have many other tools at their disposal to respond to the plan.
“With the decision to cancel agreements with Israel and US, we as Palestinians entered a new stage of the struggle, which includes the struggle to isolate Israel in all international forums and to promote the boycott of Israel so it pays the price for its policies of annexation,” he said.
Shaath did not rule out the outbreak of a new intifada as one of the Palestinian tools, and said if Israel insisted on its plan, which he described as “criminal colonialism,” there were no “rules for confrontation and resistance.”
He is betting that White House foreign policy will change this year, with a Democrat victory in the presidential elections leading to a rejection of Netanyahu’s policies.
The Palestinian leadership is trying to deliver warning messages about the dangers of the annexation and its repercussions, but no one is talking openly about the option of dissolving PA.

BACKGROUND

Nabil Shaath did not rule out the outbreak of a new intifada as one of the Palestinian tools to counter Israel’s annexation plan.

The secretary of the executive committee of the PLO Saeb Erekat who believes annexation would mean the end of the two state solution, said in an interview to an Israeli TV channel two days ago, “If Netanyahu insists in his plan to annex West Bank, that would mean already the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority. No one then would care about whether PLO decide to dissolve the PA, not even the Israelis who are seeking to destroy it. The annexation will end any opportunity two-state solution.”
An Israeli TV channel quoted unidentified sources few days ago as saying that the Palestinian Authority had sent messages to Israel through Western diplomats that it would dissolve the PA if Israel went on of the annexation.
Ali al-Jarbawi, a professor of political science and former Palestinian minister, believes that the Palestinian leadership committed a strategic mistake in continuing negotiations without setting a time limit.
“It is not possible to abandon the agreements without ending the existence of the PA, which is the most important result of these agreements,” he said. “The existence of the PA is a consecration of the agreements, and if you want to end these agreements, you must end It.”
However, he pointed out that the option of dissolving the PA was not as simple as some think. Over more than a quarter of a century its benefits and interests have become intertwined, which makes dissolving it as difficult as keeping it in its current shape.
Political analyst Khaldoun al-Barghouti supports the Palestinian leadership’s adherence to the PA as a national achievement.
"Although the PA has attracted much criticism, in practice the PA has become a major enemy to Israel. PA fights politically and financially. There is no reason for its dissolution — in fact, its collapse must be prevented."
Barghouti expects that the annexation will lead to a “functional change” in the PA, but not its dissolution. Disengagement from the agreements was one of the changes. Israel will put pressure on the PA to retreat, but will not gamble on dissolving it.


Iran dismisses US efforts at UN sanctions as currency drops

Updated 20 September 2020

Iran dismisses US efforts at UN sanctions as currency drops

  • Iran’s currency dropped to 272,500 to the US dollar at money exchange shops across Tehran

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran dismissed US efforts to restore all UN sanctions on the country as mounting economic pressure from Washington pushed the local currency down to its lowest level ever on Sunday.
Iran’s currency dropped to 272,500 to the US dollar at money exchange shops across Tehran.
The rial has lost more than 30 percent of its value to the dollar since June as sweeping US sanctions on Iran continue to crush its ability to sell oil globally. Iran’s currency was at 32,000 rials to the dollar at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which was signed by the Obama administration but which the Trump administration pulled the US from.
As the currency plummeted, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the Trump administration’s declaration Saturday that all UN sanctions against Iran have been reimposed because Tehran is not complying with the nuclear deal.
The US move has been rejected as illegal by most of the rest of the world and sets the stage for an ugly showdown at the world body ahead of its annual General Assembly this week.
Even before the US declaration, other Security Council members had vowed to ignore it. They say the US lost legal standing to invoke snapback sanctions when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and began reimposing US sanctions on Iran.
The Iranian government spokesman said the snapback sanctions have only happened in “the fantastical world” of the Trump administration. He said the US stands on the wrong side of history.
“They are attempting to make everyone believe it, but nobody is buying it except for themselves,” Khatibzadeh said during his weekly press briefing on Sunday.
“It is a television show whose sole presenter, viewers and those cheering it on are Mr. Pompeo himself and a handful of others,” the spokesman said, referring to the US secretary of state.
“Tehran’s message to Washington is clear: return to the international community, return to your commitments and stop bullying so the international community will accept you,” he added.
The White House plans to issue an executive order on Monday spelling out how the US will enforce the restored sanctions, and the State and Treasury departments are expected to outline how foreign individuals and businesses will be penalized for violations.
Tensions are running high between Iran and the US, particularly since a US strike in January killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, prompting Tehran to retaliate with a ballistic missile strike on Iraqi bases housing American troops.