Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the future of the Palestinian Authority, expressing concern over the weakening positions of its 87-year-old president, Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli media reported on Monday.
According to the Israeli state-owned television Kan, Netanyahu said in his remarks at the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel had no interest in the collapse of the PA.
“We need the Palestinian Authority. We cannot allow it to collapse. We also do not want it to collapse. We are ready to help it financially,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying.
“Where it succeeds in operating, it does the job for us,” he added.
Israel’s PM also said that Israel is “preparing for the day after” Abbas, who doesn’t have a successor. In relation to the Palestinian aspirations for an independent state, Netanyahu reportedly stated that “their ambition for a state must be suppressed.”
World Must React
“Not only does Netanyahu oppose a Palestinian state, he wants to eliminate the very aspiration for Palestinian state from the minds of Palestinians and any discussion on Palestine,” Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian journalist and editor of the Palestine Chronicle said.
“Netanyahu has never been a supporter of a Palestinian state. The few times that he did hint that such a state could be acceptable by Israel, they were always joined with conditions that are nearly impossible for Palestinians to accept or implant. But stating out loud, and as a matter of policy that he opposes the very idea, the very aspiration for a state requires a strong international reaction.”
Netanyahu’s statements come amid an escalation of Israeli military and settler violence in the occupied West Bank and the decision by the Israeli government to expand its illegal settlements.
Netanyahu’s remarks came amid international outcry against Israel’s human rights violations and ongoing pogroms in various parts of the West Bank.
Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently told The Associated Press that, during his three-day visit in the occupied West Bank, he noticed that “the situation has worsened.”
“I’m just thinking that, as many people are saying, that this may constitute apartheid,” Ban Ki-Moon added.
Israeli occupation forces have killed 179 Palestinians since the beginning of the year, including 27 children.
(The Palestine Chronicle, i24)