Israel Weighs Measures to Prop Up Ailing Palestinian Authority

On Sunday, IDF chief Aviv Kochavi said that the weakening of Palestinian security forces has "created fertile ground for the growth of terrorism.” Government officials said they weren’t surprised by his words

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in Jenin two weeks ago. According to security sources, the Palestinian Authority is losing control over the northern West Bank in particular.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in Jenin two weeks ago. According to security sources, the Palestinian Authority is losing control over the northern West Bank in particular.Credit: Raneen Sawafta / Reuters
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Growing evidence in recent months that the power of the Palestinian Authority is rapidly eroding has alarmed Israeli authorities, who are now weighing new measures to prop it up in an effort to combat security threats.

A source said Israel has been relying on its security forces to prevent a spillover of terrorism and crime into Israel from the West Bank, where conditions are rapidly deteriorating.

On Sunday, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said that “the absence of control on the part of Palestinian security apparatus in certain parts of Judea and Samaria has created fertile ground for the growth of terrorism.” Government officials said they weren’t surprised by the chief of staff’s remarks.

“In general, Kochavi is correct,” said one source who spoke with Haaretz. “There’s a structural problem behind the tensions in Judea and Samaria, which arise from the pronounced weakness of the PA in northern Samaria,” he said, referring to the northern part of the West Bank. “In places like Jenin and Nablus, they have little control on the ground.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, last week.Credit: Thaer Ghanaim / AFP

The source added the declining standing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the erosion of Palestinian security forces have led to a loss of control on the ground.

“We’re trying with all the tools at our disposal to help them,” the source said.

Among other things, Israel is considering stepping up the economic assistance to the PA that the current government is already providing. This would be done by raising the ceiling on the number of Palestinians working in Israel and increasing direct financial aid to the PA through various channels.

In discussions conducted over the last several weeks in Jerusalem, a package of proposals to help the PA was considered. But, sources said, the participants in these discussions were unsure whether any of the proposed measures would have a real impact on the situation on the ground. The issue will be taken up again in broader terms on Wednesday, when Prime Minister Yair Lapid is scheduled to conduct a wide-ranging situational assessment with the heads of the defense establishment.

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