Shin Bet head Ronen Bar visited Washington last weekend and met with senior administration officials following growing concern in the American administration due to the security situation in Judea and Samaria and a sharp deterioration in the PA’s status.
Ronen Bar met with senior officials in the White House, the Foreign Ministry and the CIA who expressed concern over the possibility that the continuation of the current situation could lead to a rapid collapse of the PA even before Mahmoud Abbas steps down from the political stage.
The head of the Shin Bet explained the ramifications of the security situation in Judea and Samaria on the stability of the PA, the establishment of about 20 armed terrorist militias in various places in Judea and Samaria further weakens the rule of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the influence of the PA on Palestinian Street.
Ronen Bar explained that the IDF and Shin Bet forces are forced to enter Area A to stop terrorists who are considered “ticking bombs” and who are planning terrorist attacks inside Israel because the PA does not fight terrorism and does not stop them.
Israel is trying to strengthen the PA’s position by arresting and killing the terrorist elements that endanger the PA as well, but the PA’s chairman is having trouble helping himself.
A senior official in the Fatah movement says that the PA is in a process similar to the process in which a patient is about to die and the best doctors who know that his end is near are making efforts to keep him alive in every possible way, including through artificial respiration.
Israel, the US, the European Union, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf countries are not interested in the collapse of the PA, they understand that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has lost security control over large parts of the West Bank and also his status on the Palestinian street while armed terrorist groups have taken over on the field and public opinion.
Senior officials in the Fatah movement, which is the backbone of the PA, and senior officials in the Hamas movement are actually awaiting the departure of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas from the political stage, naturally or through entering a state of medical impotence, in the meantime they are organizing for the succession battle including preparations for struggles in the field through the militias established by senior Fatah officials, the new terrorist groups that arose in the West Bank after the “Guardian of the Walls” operation in May 2021 are also supposed to take part in the succession battle.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas insists on leaving the succession issue in ambiguity, even though the expected succession battle after his departure from the political stage could lead to security chaos in the area and wars between armed militias.
Mahmoud Abbas has not created any agreed legal mechanism for an orderly transfer of power in the event that he enters a situation of impasse, he avoids holding presidential and parliamentary elections for fear of losing.
Mahmoud Abbas weakened the PLO institutions since he was elected to his position in 2005 in order to strengthen his rule, he became a dictator and on the Palestinian street they claim that he is corrupt.
Despite his extreme age (88) he is not ready to hear about the possibility of retiring from his position and he intends to remain in his position until the last moment, a senior member of the Fatah movement says that he will leave the Muqataa in Ramallah “only on a stretcher”.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas refuses to name a successor from among the Fatah elite or appoint a deputy to whom he can gradually transfer governmental powers.
According to the latest public opinion survey by the Institute for Political Studies in Ramallah, 63 percent of the Palestinian public believes that the PA has become a burden on the shoulders of the Palestinians and 57 percent claim that the PA remains in Israel’s best interest.
52 percent believe that the Palestinian interest is to dissolve the PA or that it will collapse.
Following the election results and the rise of the right-wing government in Israel, discussions have recently begun in the Palestinian political arena about the fate of the PA and its future in light of the failure of the PA’s political agenda and its negotiation strategy with Israel.
Senior PA officials are following with concern the statements of several ministers in the Israeli government regarding the need to dissolve the PA and turn it into an administrative government divided into several areas of the West Bank.
The American administration is also concerned and angry about the statements of Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir regarding the future of the PA.
Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, said at the end of last week that important additional steps should be taken to improve the lives of the Palestinians in order to achieve calm and prosperity in a more peaceful area, but as of this time no date has been set for another security meeting in Sharm Al-Sheikh to discuss the strengthening the position of the PA following on two previous meetings in Aqaba and Sharm Al-Sheikh in preparation for the month of Ramadan.
The continuation of the terrorist attack in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of new terrorist groups will eventually lead to a major operation by the IDF against the terrorist infrastructures, the administration understands the security danger to Israel but is opposed to such an operation which in its estimation will further weaken the PA, however the reality is stronger and if God forbid an attack with many casualties will happen in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli government will have to launch such an operation.