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How Israel is trying to prop up failing Palestinian Authority

Defense officials are planning a number of steps to help the PA, but will have to overcome political resistance

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Flash90)

Officials in the Israeli defense system are planning a series of steps meant to support the failing Palestinian Authority and thus improve the security situation in the West Bank, Ynet news reported on Wednesday.

The steps are meant to help the PA regain control over its cities, and serve as a show of goodwill to the United States and Saudi Arabia in the ongoing talks about a possible peace deal.

To implement these plans, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to overcome strong resistance from the ministers of the Religious Zionism and the Jewish Power parties, mainly Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

The two have previously objected to taking any steps to help the Palestinian Authority.

In recent days, Smotrich has been embroiled in a public outcry, including accusations of racism, over his decision to withhold funds from local Arab authorities, as well as his rejecting a plan for the distribution of debts to the Palestinian Authority.

"I don't see the PA collapsing, and it is absurd that the citizens of Israel would fund an authority that fights against the country and pays salaries to terrorists," Smotrich said.

The plans to help the PA are meant to stabilize the organization financially, enabling it to effectively control its cities once again. 

The increasing number of terror attacks emanating from cities like Nablus and Jenin have been attributed to the ineffectiveness of the PA's security forces in the fight against armed groups like the Nablus-based Lions' Den group.

Another reason to help the PA is the ongoing negotiation about normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, in the framework of a larger U.S.-Saudi deal.

According to Ynet, the planned steps were coordinated with Washington, which demanded that Israel and the PA improve relations with each other.

Saudi Arabia has reportedly signaled that the chances for peace with Israel depend upon an end to the conflict with the Palestinians. However, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen recently denied this in an interview with Saudi news site Elaph.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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