Livni demands urgent meeting to address fear of PA collapse
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Livni demands urgent meeting to address fear of PA collapse

Opposition lawmaker says PM has backed himself into a political corner and is not implementing security recommendations

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Zionist Union MK Zionist Tzipi Livni during a party meeting at the Knesset, December 21, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Zionist Union MK Zionist Tzipi Livni during a party meeting at the Knesset, December 21, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Opposition MK Tzipi Livni on Tuesday called for an urgent meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to review predictions that the Palestinian Authority is on the verge of collapse.

Livni, in a letter to committee chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political maneuverings have left him hamstrung in dealing with the looming threat of a disintegration of the West Bank’s Palestinian leadership.

“Despite the widespread opinion of the security establishment [about the imminent collapse], it appears that due to political constraints the prime minister is not implementing most of the recommendations that the establishment presented to him,” she wrote.

Livni, of the Zionist Union party, asked that the committee be informed of the real possibility of a PA collapse and what such a scenario would mean for Israel — from a security, diplomatic, and economic point of view.

She also asked for a review of possible measures and preparations that the security establishment should take in advance, as well as the recommendations of the political leadership for how to deal with the scenario.

“As the days go by and the wave of terror increases, and the reports of a realistic possibility that the PA will collapse persist and increase, it is important to hold the meeting as soon as possible,” she noted.

The letter came after earlier in the day the Haaretz newspaper reported that Netanyahu had told the security cabinet Monday that Israel must take steps to avert the collapse, but also warned it to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN Human Rights Council on October 28, 2015. (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN Human Rights Council on October 28, 2015. (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

According to the report, the security cabinet — tasked with outlining and implementing foreign and defense policy — has held two meetings over the past ten days to discuss the possibility of the PA’s collapse. The discussions come as a wave of terror continues across the country and amid rumors of a political crisis within the Palestinian government.

The meetings dealt with defense establishment assessments that the Palestinian Authority was “liable” to collapse or disintegrate and that such a scenario would create strenuous demands on Israel, forcing it to take charge of both security and civilian affairs in areas currently controlled by the PA.

It was not immediately clear what steps were being considered and there was no official confirmation of Netanyahu’s comments.

PA officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas, have warned several times in recent months that the PA could be dismantled in the absence of a peace process.

With little hope on both sides for a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Abbas has faced fierce calls to resign his position as president of the PA and call new elections, which have been put off since 2009.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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