Talking about the increasingly tense relationship between Palestine and Israel at the Saban Forum on the Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that there was a big question about how long the Palestinian Authority (PA) could survive. The consequences of the collapse would be a real disaster: extremist organizations, like Hamas, could increase their power in the region and the West Bank would descend into violence and chaos as a result.
Mr. Kerry said that the collapse of the PA would inflict tremendous financial and strategic costs on the nation of Israel and would threaten the security of both Palestinians and Israelis that are already involved in a bloody conflict. Are Palestinian officials really doing everything they can? Are Israelis prepared for the aftermath of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority when the inevitable friction leads to violence and confrontation? Mr. Kerry believes that without the PA Israelis would spend for billions of dollars to provide basic services in the West Bank and reconstruct the collapsed Palestinian economy and the private sector in order to prevent total poverty and unemployment. The PA would collapse sooner rather than later, so Israel is interested in its survival most of anyone else. In its turn, Palestine must also meet its commitment: improving governance, combating violence, and developing its infrastructure. The Secretary of State emphasized that strengthening the Palestinian economy will enhance security for both sides of the conflict.
The discussion came as a wave of terror continues to spread across the country and rumors of a political crisis within the Palestinian government intensify.
This view, voiced by Mr. Kerry, maintains that the region’s powers and the wider global community are at the crossroads, as the course of action chosen today could very well define the future of the region. That is, of course, only one way to look at the situation; as many experts believe that the status quo could be maintained indefinitely, or at least for the foreseeable future. While the situation around the PA is inherently unstable, there is no clear indication that it is currently any closer to its hypothetical collapse that in was before.