(MENAFN - Jordan Times) While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas does not intend to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, he has, at long last, admitted that the body, created under the flawed and defunct 1993 Oslo accords, has no authority.
Abbas rightly blamed Israel for the failure of the "Oslo process" and said Israel stripped the Palestinian Authority of any "meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, territorial and security spheres".
This problematic admission by the head of the authority-without-authority was made in a letter delivered on Tuesday by Palestinian Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and intelligence chief Majed Faraj to Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
A threat to dismantle the authority and turn over the job of administering Palestinian population centres was, apparently, dropped due to counter threats from the US to halt financial aid, and from Israel to stop transferring customs duties and taxes collected by Israel on the Palestinians' behalf to the PA.
Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib told this correspondent that the aim of the letter was to justify fresh PA action at international level. He said that the "UNESCO challenge", the decision to go ahead and apply successfully to the UN cultural organisation, is an example of the sort of action the PA could take even though the US and Israel make the same threats to cut the flow of funds.
Khatib said that the PA will also "fight Israel in the international legal arena" by adopting activities to "complement non-violent resistance to the occupation", encourage academic and trade union boycotts and promote divestment from Israeli firms.
He stated: "The PA has got to be more courageous."
He pointed out that many Palestinians criticise conservatives in the PA who call for the boycott of goods made in Israeli colonies but not for the whole range of Israeli products and services.
Khatib observed that while Abbas "likes the idea of stepping down and dissolving the PA", the authority is, in fact, in serious danger of "collapse".
He gave four reasons for this situation: "The financial crisis is the most serious in the history of the PA"; the absence of elections and the legislative council means there are "no checks and balances" in the Palestinian system of governance, depriving the PA of legitimacy and credibility and making the "executive branch too powerful"; the "failure of reconciliation" between the PA-Fateh and Hamas; the "failure of the peace process on which the PA has gambled since its establishment".
In his view, the "situation can only get worse" because the PA "cannot meet its obligations", in terms of providing services to West Bankers, effect reconciliation, conduct elections or advance the peace process.
With respect to the peace process, the PA has been totally let down by the international community, which made no serious attempt to hold Israel to its commitments, particularly the demand that it halt its colonisation of Palestinian territory.
The Europeans, who could exert considerable pressure on Israel, "cannot go beyond verbal criticisms" because of the domestic politics of the different member states and US pressure".
Khatib said that the Arab Spring and the Iran crisis have "completely marginalised the Palestinian cause...". The failure of the peace process, launched more than 20 years ago, means that its objective, the "two-state solution" involving the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, is finished.
Most Palestinians and many international civil servants and humanitarian workers insist that it has been finished for some time, thanks to the Israeli colonisation drive and efforts to force Palestinian farmers off the land and corral the Palestinian population of the West Bank in tight urban enclaves surrounded by Israeli colonies, military installations, walls and fences.
There is agreement among those who recognise that the two-state deal is dead and that the Quartet, comprising the US, UN, Europe and Russia, should be dissolved. The Quartet is simply providing cover for Israel's landgrab and wasting money.
A UN official observed that insistence by the international community that there is still potential in the two-state solution means that planning is dominated by a project that is no longer feasible and no one is thinking about alternatives to the two-state solution. The official said the only other option mentioned, the "one-state solution", a bi-national state of Israeli Jews and Palestinians, is a non-starter.
Israel wants a Jewish state and is not prepared to share statehood by granting Palestinians political rights even if they soon outnumber Israeli Jews. Soon, being by 2016 if Gaza is considered part of the territory ingested by Israel, after a decade or so if Gaza and its 1.6 million Palestinians are excluded.
The apartheid Israeli state is what is happening on the ground and in law. It is already here and nothing is being done to change the direction of Israeli policy because compromised and compromising international actors still cling to the illusory two-state solution, while some Palestinians dream of an even more illusory one-state solution.
Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee against Home Demolitions, said that the divisions of the West Bank into areas A, B and C, laid down in the defunct Oslo accords, provides the map for apartheid. In Area A, comprising 17 per cent of the West Bank, Palestinians will enjoy "autonomy-minus".
Israel will "share" Area B, 23 per cent, with the Palestinians, and Area C, 60 per cent, will be informally or even formally annexed by Israel. East Jerusalem and the Palestinian inhabitants who remain will be absorbed by Israel while Gaza will be cut off from East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and encouraged to connect with Egypt.
Halper believes that in the long run, the international community will accept what Israel is doing and "normalise" relations with this apartheid form of "Greater Israel". In his view, only the dissolution or collapse of the PA could be a game changer for Israel and the international community.