Dissolution of the Palestinian Authority – an Emerging Trend

The quotes gathered here illustrate how the issue of dismantling the Palestinian Authority has become a mainstream stand in the present PA's political system.

Since Hamas' electoral victory (1/06) increasing calls from different elements in the Palestinian political system have emerged to demand the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The last Palestinian legislative council (PLC) meeting was dedicated to the issue, and marks a significant turning point in the evolution of this trend. This was the first time the issue of dismantling the PA was discussed in a formal Palestinian institution and mentioned as a viable alternative by the Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

The dissolution of the PA may hold long term consequences for Israeli-Palestinians relations and for Israel's political maneuverability in any future attempt to end control over the Palestinian population and to establish a reality of two separate political entities.

The quotes gathered here illustrate how the issue of dismantling the PA was first brought up by Fatah supporters, and was perceived as part of the struggle over power between Hamas and Fatah.

However, following Israel's military operation in Gaza, after the abduction of the soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas military wing, elements within Hamas have also started to call for the dismantling of the PA.

This issue of ReViews will show the main reference points in the evolution of the internal Palestinian discourse on the issue of dissolving the PA.

  • Following the IDF operation in Jericho (3/06), Fatah members called upon PA Chairman Abu-Mazen to dismantle the PA and to reinforce the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people (Ynet, 3/15/06).

  • The possibility of dismantling the PA was first discussed in the Fatah Central Committee. Following the meeting, key Fatah figures called Abu-Mazen to resign and to dismantle the PA if Israeli unilateralism against the PA continues (WAFA - Palestinian News Agency, 3/17/06).

  • Khaled Mash'al, head of Hamas political bureau, declared that Hamas would not hesitate to dismantle the PA if it sees that it cannot protect the Palestinian people. He added that Hamas won't hesitate to announce the dismantling of the PA and return to the starting point: people under occupation (Ha'aretz, 3/19/06).

  • Members of high and mid ranks in the Hamas movement called the leadership of the movement to resign from the government, return to the armed struggle and dismantle the PA (Al-Hayat, 6/27/06).

  • PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas expressed the idea of dismantling the PA during a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. When asked to use his powers to obtain the release of kidnapped soldier Gilead Shalit, Abu Mazen manifested his current lack of authority and funds, as a result of Israel's current policies. He also added: "(…) people say the PA is worth nothing and as far as they are concerned, they'd rather it did not exist and Israel would once again be an occupying state and that I would leave." (A-Sharq al-Awsat, 7/12/06).

  • Representatives of Hamas and the Popular Front in the PLC have decided to convene to discuss the future of the PA and the possibility of dissolving it (Al-Ayyam, 8/7/06 and Al-Jazeera, 8/7/06).

  • Speaking to the PLC, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called Palestinian factions to sincerely discuss the future of the PA and the possibility of its dissolution. Chairman of the "Third Way" party and former finance minister, Sallam Fayad as well as other representatives in the PLC supported Haniyeh's position. (Al-Hayat, 8/10/06).