Fatah Official: There Is No Plan to Dismantle the Palestinian Authority

Mahmoud al-Aloul clarifies that Palestinian officials simply regrouping and working to restore the PA to its former stature; denies reports of contingency plan to dissolve PA within a couple months.

Senior Fatah official Mahmoud al-Aloul told Ma'an News Agency on Friday that there is no plan to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, despite earlier reports that its future was in question.

Al-Aloul told the news agency that officials were simply regrouping and working to restore the PA to its former stature.

Mahmoud Abbas in colombia - AFP -  October 10 2011

"The government is in a bad situation and is looking for solutions, but not to dismantle (the PA)," the Fatah official said, according to Ma'an.

President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that he plans to discuss the fate of the Palestinian Authority with his rivals Hamas next month, raising questions over its future with the peace process at a dead end.

"The Authority is not an authority. People and Palestinian institutions are asking me about the benefits of the continuation of the Authority," Abbas said in comments to his Fatah party published by WAFA news agency on Thursday.

The day before, the Palestinian leader said in an address "we want to answer this question and therefore it will be one of the subjects we will discuss with our brother Khaled Meshaal, leader of Hamas.”

"The question we must answer is where are we heading?"

Abbas' s comments led to speculation about the Authority's continued relevance.
Maariv newspaper quoted a Palestinian source on Friday, saying that the PA had formulated a contingency plan to dissolve the Authority within a couple of months in the event that efforts to receive recognition in the United Nations failed.

The plan was reportedly compiled at the request of Abbas, in which all responsibility formerly held by the PA for health, education and tourism would be transferred to Israel, as well as the security of the West Bank.

Al-Aloul said the report was untrue, clarifying that officials merely wanted to address dissatisfaction with the PA's position, but not dismantle it altogether.

But al-Aloul said such predictions were "untrue," as officials wanted to address dissatisfaction with the PA's position, but not take it apart, adding that multiple visions for the future of the Authority were under consideration, Ma'an reported.

"Some consider international guardianship, others resisting the occupation, and others are looking for one state (a bi-national state in Israel and Palestine) ... others think of eradicating previous agreements (between Israelis and Palestinians, under which the PA was established)," al-Aloul told Ma'an.

He told the news agency that with the current standstill in talks with Israel, the PA is suffering, adding that Abbas's bid to the UN for recognition of statehood was a possible route to "restore the spark to the Palestinian cause."

"We will not be an authority without power," he reportedly said.