Jerusalem Post: What a PA Collapse Would Mean for Israel

Gidi Grinstein, head of the Reut Think-Tank said that certain factions inside Palestinian society were not interested in the two-state solution.

Herb Keinon, The Jerusalem Post

They were interested in drawing Israel back into Gaza, perpetuating Israeli occupation, believing that this would lead to Israel's collapse from within.

In a paper Reut published last November, Grinstein wrote that the aim of this strategy "is to establish one Palestinian/Arab/Islamic state in place of Israel through actions that will bring about Israel's internal collapse as a state."

According to this strategy, "the occupation accelerates Israel's implosion and therefore should be sustained. Either way, the Hamas government in and of itself serves the 'Strategy of Implosion' because it creates a political deadlock, deepens the Palestinian crisis of representation, and erodes the PA's capacity to govern."

Grinstein, who was an adviser to Ehud Barak when Barak served as prime minister, said that the collapse of the PA - a situation of "non-governance there" - was bad for Israel. "We will have no one to talk to, and too many people to shoot at," he said.

"There are groups, Palestinian and Muslim Arabs, who are beginning to question whether their immediate goal should really be to try to push Israel out of the West Bank, and who are saying that the continuation of the occupation may accelerate Israel's implosion," he said.

Grinstein noted that over the last year, there has not been any significant pressure on Israel from the PA, or from the Arab world, to get out of the West Bank.

"We got used to an environment where there were powerful forces pushing us out of the West Bank," he said, saying that these voices have been silent for the last year.

Because of some of the Palestinian factions' desire that Israel remain an occupying force, the threat of the IDF moving back into Gaza is a hollow one. That's what they want, Grinstein said.

To support this argument, Grinstein quoted Damascus-based Hamas head Khaled Mashaal, who said in March 2006 that Hamas has always seen the establishment of the PA "as a mistake."

He said that Hamas would not "hesitate to declare the dissolution of the PA and the return back to square one: that of being under occupation."

Grinstein said he doubted whether the current chaos was premeditated by Hamas to provoke an Israeli response that would draw it back into Gaza, but that local events - such as clan feuds over weapons and drug smuggling - have a dangerous momentum of their own, and that other issues can piggyback on them.

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