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The man who invented the PA calls for it to be dismantled

Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, calls on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to the ‘fig leaf’ that is the Palestinian Authority.

This is as big as an op-ed gets: Yossi Beilin, the Israeli architect of the Oslo process, has published a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urging him to shut down the Palestinian Authority and let Prime Minister Netanyahu bear direct responsibility for the fate of the Palestinians under Israeli control.

Do not hesitate for a moment! Do not accept the request of President Obama, who merely wants to be left undisturbed before election day. Do not let Prime Minister Netanyahu hide behind the fig leaf of the Palestinian Authority — impose upon him, once again, the responsibility for the fate of 4 million Palestinians. Remain as the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which will give you the authority to lead the political negotiations if and when they resume.

But for the sake of your own people, and for the sake of peace, you cannot let this farce continue.

For years, Beilin was known as a relentless advocate of the peace process, even as more and more people came to realize that the endless process was keeping the occupation alive. Beilin still believes in the two-state solution – but even he knows that the Palestinian Authority won’t get us there, so he begs the Palestinian president to “end this farce.”

The date for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which was set in Oslo, passed 13 years ago. The Palestinian Authority was never meant to live that long. But even at the peak of military escalation, Israeli leaders kept the PA  alive, because of the vital role it played in normalizing Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza.

Today, Israel enjoys the best of all worlds: it controls all entries and exits to and from the West Bank, it builds settlements and moves Jews to live in them, it uses the natural resources in the West Bank, and it even controls the airspace and electromagnetic frequencies. Yet Israel doesn’t need to bother itself with running the lives of millions of Palestinians, who are deprived of basic civil rights: the Palestinian Authority deals with them, and even does the necessary police work for Israel, while the European Union, the Arab League and the American taxpayer pay the bills. It’s occupation by proxy – the most comfortable arrangement Israel achieved since it took control over the territories in 1967.

Everybody knows that. This is the reason that whenever Israel’s overzealous “friends” in Congress stop funding the Palestinian Authority – reading the condemnations it received from Jerusalem at face value, and totally missing Israel’s double-game – it is Prime Minister Netanyahu himself who urges them to release the money. After all, Israel enjoys those funds much more than the Palestinians, who have began to see the Authority as a second authoritarian regime imposed on them.

After Israel managed to stop the last Palestinian effort to transform the Authority into a full state – at least in name – through the unilateral move at the UN, President Abbas decided to threaten Israel with shutting down the PA. The idea was to be made known in a special letter Prime Minister Fayyad was to pass to Netanyahu after Passover (Haaretz’s Barak Ravid obtained a copy of this letter). But Washington was so alarmed by this option that the White House applied enormous pressure on Abbas, finally convincing him only to appeal to Netanyahu with four demands, the most important being the recognition of the 1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations.

Netanyahu is expected to answer Abbas with a demand that the Palestinians enter negotiations “without preconditions.”

This is the context of Beilin’s public letter, which ends with a plea to the Palestinians not to give in to Washington’s threats. What Beilin doesn’t write – but clearly understands – is that by now, the United States has become the greatest enabler of the occupation. Will American officials be able to continue talking about the need for both sides to re-enter the peace process, now that the man most closely identified with it has abandoned any such hope?

Read Also:
Ending the occupation: No way around direct pressure on Israel
One or two states? The status quo is Israel’s rational choice
Direct negotiations: Recipe for prolonging the occupation


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    1. delia

      Well, violent resistance doesn’t work; non-violent resistance doesn’t work; peace processing doesn’t work; appealing to the UN doesn’t work; uniting the PA and Hamas doesn’t work; BDS doesn’t work. So why not try out Beilin’s suggestion? The worst thing that can happen is that, like all the other options denied to the Palestinians, it won’t work.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jack

      In fact dismantling the PA is what Israel fear.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Yahya

      Sensible words coming from yesterday’s leaders, after Marwan Barghouthi called last week for an end to the negotiations farce, and instead non-violent resistance. Possibly external pressure will increase if it becomes more obvious that there are no meaningful negotiations happening, and there cannot be under current conditions.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Lee Diamond

      I think that is an insane comment to simply say nonviolent resistance does not work.

      If the Palestinians are prepared, they could theoretically shut down the PA and mobilize Nonviolent Resistance against the Occupation.

      I find the first comment very shallow.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Lee Diamond

      But it seems that broadly speaking I probably agree with her.

      I hope it would be something that is carefully prepared. There are so many Palestinians in the West Bank compared to Israelis that despite all the barriers and other manifestations of occupation, I think the Palestinians could be successful with competent leadership.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Richard Witty

      The only thing that makes political change is changes of hearts and minds.

      While additional pressure on Israel may seem like a path, it is none. It is the opposite of a path, it is the recipe for increasing pressure in a pressure cooker, when exhaust from the pressure is the real remedy, even if temporary.

      Fear is a roadblock to any progress. PRessure increases Israelis fears, not relaxes them.

      The Beilin suggestion is artful, because it is NOT an urging of intifada, but only simple judo.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Anonymous

      Welcome to District 9.

      Reply to Comment
    8. XYZ

      I am surprised that Beilin has any credibility with anyone after being wrong about absolutely everything for so long. He is the one who said “bring Arafat here, give him guns, he is moderate, he doesn’t believe in violence anymore, he is strong, he can sell a compromise peace to the Palestinians, he is strong enough to give up the “Right of Return” of the Palestinian refugees”. He is so arrogant and has so little credibility he was first chucked out of the Labor Party and then chucked out of MERETZ. What else can be said?

      Reply to Comment
    9. DTA

      Honestly — Does the PA admistrators have any other option, but to dissolve themselves? Do they have any bargaining power? This is the only chance they have. There is a saying something like “power corrupts”. I hope whatever decision PA takes won’t be based on their desire to keep an hold on their “power”.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Beholder

      Architect of one of greatest failures in modern politics has new ideas lol.

      Reply to Comment
    11. XYZ

      The PA receives and distributes millions of dollars per year. Much of it goes to friends and relatives of those in power in the PA. Does anyone think they are prepared to give that up? What about the armed PA authorities and their various intelligence organizations. Are they going to be happy seeing their money cut off-and don’t forget they are armed? It’s easy for Beilin to say that someone else should give up his income.
      I am aware the Abbas has threatened in the past to disband the PA. One way he could do that is to formally disband it, but in practice it would continue informally, or under a different name and the EU and American handouts would continue flowing in, in other words, things would continue pretty much as they have in the past.

      Reply to Comment
    12. XYZ

      Beilin is a lot like Ariel Sharon was….people with all kinds of big ideas based on theories that have no basis in reality , but by force of their personalities (of course, Beilin often hid behind the skirts of Shimon Peres but he was the idea man) they convince otherwise intelligent people to carry out policies that are suicidal and end up killing thousands of people for nothing.
      Sharon allied Israel with the Gemayal’s and dragged Israel into a useless war that brought HIZBULLAH to power. Beilin made an alliance with Arafat, which also dragged Israel into a bloody conflict which ended up bringing HAMAS to power, ironically with Sharon’s help with his disastrous destruction of Gush Katif. Both men have a LOT to answer for.

      Reply to Comment
    13. sh

      Lee Diamond – “I think that is an insane comment to simply say nonviolent resistance does not work.”
      I think it’s a comment borne of despair, not insanity.
      The only way non-violent resistance can work is by making it massive. But it’s not for an Israeli to tell the Palestinians how to do it because they do it every day and that’s how our government wants it. It’s Israelis who should be protesting non-violently. We hear as an excuse that the left is divided.
      1) They don’t have to come only from the left. It’s a right or wrong issue, not a left or right one.
      2) There are enough people on the left who are against the violent occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to produce creditably sized demonstrations. Yet the extremes within the left won’t demonstrate with each other. What extremes? Well, those who want one state and those who want two states one of them disarmed if possible, those who think religious people ought to be certified and those who think they’re part of humanity, those who think feminism ought to be part of “the struggle” and those for whom it’s irrelevant at this point, those who refuse to go to a demonstration that tolerates Israeli flags, those who cringe at the sight of Palestinian ones, especially in Tel Aviv, you name it.

      Reply to Comment
    14. sh

      “I think the Palestinians could be successful with competent leadership.”
      Lee, their leadership is in jail and, unless something changes, Israel will see to it that their leaders always will be. I’m not referring only to Marwan Barghouti, their non-violent leadership too is constantly jailed and released. It’s hot and cold taps that our government’s hands operate at will.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Just like in S. Africa’s bantustans, Israel has now created an entrenched layer of Palestinian bureaucrats and security services who benefit from the existing occupation/apartheid and are therefore aligned against their people’s interests.

      It seems Abbas and his cronies would be happy to play the “peace process” game for five more decades and he is in fact standing in the way of progress for his own people.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Richard Witty

      The PA’s role in Palestine is significant. Those that call them simply patronized or patronizing, “quislings”, are living in an illusion.

      To dismantle the PA is itself a very big effort, not just closing the door.

      And, it has enormous consequences for the welfare of Palestinians and Israelis. While politically it sounds nice, in practicality one has to be willing to cause suffering to advance a political end in advocating the irrelevance of the PA.

      That seems to me the opposite of any motivation that is capable of mass solidarity. Law, compassion, congruity, are the based that mass movements can succeed.

      There is a phrase in many religious traditions, including Judaism, “strength to strength”.

      Very different than ‘gamble to gamble’.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Rodrigo

      Beilin is just amazing. He basically calls on Abbas, as a national leader, to abandon the interests of the 160,000 PA employees and the 2 million Palestinians of the West Bank to the mercy and pity of a fictional Israeli leader that will accept these thrown keys. It isn’t like the Israelis are suddenly going to take over the offices in the Muqata in Ramallah. The Israeli police isn’t going to enforce order in Nablus. Abbas would be relegating his people in the West Bank to a life of poverty and anarchy. Many will just leave. This is basically a dream scenario for the right-wing. They will refuse to replace the Palestinian authority’s control in the Palestinian cities, while seeing themselves free of any and all restrictions imposed by Oslo.

      Beilin doesn’t even bother proposing how such a move would in any way benefit Abbas on a road to a Palestinian state or any other Palestinian interest. Not only that, but even Abbas’s consolation prize of being the head of the PLO is of questionable value given the changes happening in the Arab world. The PLO is a decrepit, corrupt organization with little support on the ground that becomes of questionable value the moment Abbas abandons his official PA post. What would the PLO do? Set up their headquarters in Tunisia and rebuild Black September? Even the PLO as it was in the early 1990s was bankrupt and it signed Oslo out of desperation. It would be in even worse shape now. Who would sponsor them? The Syrians? The Iranians? What achievements can it market to the Palestinians? What ideology does it have?

      This is just terrible advice. As for the Americans. Do you know what they will do? Nothing. They will do nothing at all. In the absence of a Palestinian Authority even the European states have nothing to contribute. They would simply have no framework for moving forward. It is a complete dead end, one in which Hamas becomes the de facto Palestinian representative and Bibi starts talking about a Jordanian option while permanently securing Jerusalem for Israel.

      What kind of dreamworld is Beilin living in?

      Reply to Comment
    18. klang

      Perhaps Beilin should stage a coup against Abbas and become head of the Palestinian people. Obviously the Palestinians are not smart enough to control their own destiny. Only Beilin can do it

      Reply to Comment
    19. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Dear Political Leader,
      Please relinquish all power held by yourself and your political supporters immediately, despite the fact that you are under no pressure or obligation to do so. Thank you in advance.
      Yossi Beilin

      Reply to Comment
    20. XYZ

      Beilin, like many Liberal-Left-Progressives, really couldn’t care less about the Palestinians AS people. What interests them is knocking down Israel. Beilin apparently believes in an apocalyptic scenario….anarchy would break out, as Rodrigo pointed out, lots of Palestinians would die, terrorist attacks against Israel would resume and in this chaotic situation, the ultimate dream of the anti-Israeli Left-progressives would come true…international intervention which would somehow push Israel out of the West Bank.
      Beilin would sleep better at night, enjoying his dream of proving himself a purified Progressive, and the lives of possibly several million people turned into hell. What does he care? What do these Israel-bashers care?

      Reply to Comment
    21. Jack

      Dismantling would be a huge blow to Israel but also hurtful for the palestinians, I dont think it would be wise to do that at this time.

      Instead of dismantling at this time atleast, Abbas should pressure Israel becuase without pressure Israel will never accept a palestinian state. For example have Abbas said he would resign if there is no progress in peace. This is something Israel fear since Israel use PA as a proxy-puppet and also a punching bag. Without any influence in the west bank Israel would face a huge setback.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Rodrigo

      XYZ, the only problem with that vision of the anti-Israeli Left progressives is that it is based on nothing. If the international community is incapable of pushing Israel out of the West Bank when there is an actual Palestinian government, then it will not even bother to try to do so in a situation of anarchy.

      Jack, Abbas has threatened to resign on multiple occasions. This is mostly done to scare the Europeans and the Americans, not the Israelis, since the current government of Israel would prefer if Abbas and the PA did not exist. The PA is a crutch of the two state peace negotiations. In such a framework they just need to apply pressure on Israel in the hope of forcing concessions to strengthen the PA on the ground while waiting for a more compromising Israeli government. Bibi has been trying to defeat the Oslo process since 1996 but could never renege on it explicitly because he is bound by signed agreements and commitments to the US. If the PA dismisses itself he will have achieved success.

      Reply to Comment
    23. phlegmatico

      the fun part about being a nationalist is watching the hipster Left, stand around in a circle and pee on each other. While we are busy hebraicizing all the hilltops we need for enfilading sniper fire. Hey, next time, have your discussion include some Harvard and some CUNY professors. Hold it in Oslo!! Don’t forget to invite New Israel Fund!!!

      Reply to Comment
    24. Arieh Zimmerman

      It would possibly better for everyone if we Israelis concentrated on improving our own government and wishing good luck to Palestinians trying to do the same to theirs.

      Reply to Comment
    25. “Will American officials be able to continue talking about the need for both sides to re-enter the peace process, now that the man most closely identified with it has abandoned any such hope?”
      Absolutely nothing, Noam. No one will notice. We, over here, have everything thought out. And we are always right.
      The US and EU will continue funding the PA because, even apart from the likely resulting violence, not to is against humanitarian principle. The US and EU are subsidizing the occupation rather directly thereby. So we are left, as far as I can see (not far) with human particularism: cry out against specific actions, waiting for the inevitable encroaching Israeli direct soverignty.
      And fight within Israel, to be ready when that day fully comes. Fight for articulated law. Fight for a new polity.
      I see no other road.

      Reply to Comment
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