Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze'ev Elkin gave a speech at Bar-Ilan University Monday, in which he predicted the eventual collapse of the Palestinian Authority.
"The question is not if the PA collapses but when it is going to collapse," Elkin said. "It can happen in a month or two or a year or two tops." He went on to explain that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' "control on the ground is diminishing."
Elkin says he decided to go public with his warnings after trying to bring the subject up at cabinet meetings to no avail. "I'm not sure that the government has passed the diagnostic stage and realized the dramatic change we are facing."
According to Elkin, the PA has no mechanism in place to choose a successor once Abbas relinquishes power, which would likely mean that "the most probable scenario is a violent succession struggle in the PA."
Elkin rejected the possibility of a democratic election in the PA, saying that if elections were to take place the Hamas would likely win. "Most of the Fatah candidates will never win an election against Hamas. The only one who will is in Israeli jail - Marwan Barghouti," he said.
In his speech Elkin asserted that "If the PA collapses the world will blame Israel." He also said that "the international community will stop donating money to the Palestinians." This he said would be "the end of the Oslo peace process."
"If we don't prepare for the collapse of the PA the reality will force itself on us and the cost will be dear," Elkin warned.
Elkin's speech drew derision from Zionist Union MKs.
"For years the government's excuse has been that there is no partner [for peace], and now Elkin says that the partner they said didn't exist is about to disappear," said MK Omer Bar-Lev. "How can someone who doesn't exist disappear?"
Bar-Lev said that the ongoing wave of terrorism is a "just a promo for the one and only reality Netanyahu is directing – a binational state and the demise of the Zionist vision.
He said that "separation from the Palestinians is the only alternative to Netanyahu's passivity. It's inconceivable that it would depend on the existence or absence of a Palestinian partner."
MK Hilik Bar said Elkin's declarations revealed nothing new.
"When I said this at the Knesset last July, the Coalition yawned," he said. "It's too bad that the delayed start will come at our expense."
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