Were there discussions you know of about whether the Palestinian Authority could collapse?The Palestinian Authority? No, I didn’t encounter any discussion like that.
A few days ago, Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) announced that he’s putting the Oslo Accords on hold.
He’s not upholding them anymore.Makes sense.
From what you know of the umbrella [structure], does it make sense?I don’t think it’s something that can happen because Israel holds all the cards in this story.
Can you expand?If the Oslo Accords were intended to give the basis for nation-building and to turn the Palestinian Authority into a body that would be able in exactly five years (the period after which the Interim Agreements – the Oslo Accords – were supposed to lapse, and a permanent agreement was supposed to come into effect) to turn into the real government, it also provided the basis to do that. But inside Area C, Israel really promotes the policy of letting in as many people (Israeli citizens, i.e. settlers) as possible and removing as many Palestinians as possible. Whether they move into Areas A and B – there are some who call them Bantustans* - and that way they’re concentrated in separate bodies and you can control them from outside – or whether they leave, which from Israel’s perspective is the best solution. So today inside Areas A and B, Israel also controls the ability of the Palestinian Authority to be a body that really has this role, which was supposed to be temporary, [that was supposed to be] the temporary governing body for the majority of the Palestinian population. In the meantime, all the ministers that have roles in the Palestinian Authority work for Israel, because their interest is both to stay in power there and [maintain] their ability to operate. They’re in quite good relations with our unit. Supposedly the Major General of the unit (the head of COGAT) is the counterpart of Abu Mazen. But all the Palestinian ministers – in order to do what they want to do and also in order to stay in power and I don’t know what, to be able to operate – it’s in their interest to have good relations with our unit, which at the end of the day [has to] grant a permit for every project they want to do, as well as for security coordination with them. [So] even if tomorrow, someone, whether it's Abu Mazen or whether it’s someone else in the Palestinian Authority, wakes up and says: Listen, this situation with the Palestinian Authority is not heading toward establishing a state but rather toward running matters forever for the Israelis so that they won’t have to – [even still,] they (the Israelis) are the ones who at the end of the day need to grant the permit, even if we want to go overseas as individuals, but also if we want to really build an independent economy.
*Bantustans: the unofficial name given to the 10 territories that the Apartheid regime in South Africa created for the black indigenous population whose freedom of movement was restricted to portions of the country’s territory. This system was created as part of an effort to sustain the Apartheid regime, which discriminated based on race.