Following the shooting by a member of Palestinian security forces on Israel Defense Forces soldiers last week, an expert on Arab and Middle East affairs predicts the disintegration of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the rise of Hamas, and the recapture of West Bank cities by Israel.
According to the analyst, the “Iranian monster” that the Obama administration is bolstering will cause untold harm in the region and the administration will leave Washington with the Middle East in ruins. In an analysis in The Times of Israel, Middle East expert Avi Issacharoff paints a dismal picture of the near future following what he terms the disintegration of the PA.
Issacharoff places the blame for the nightmare scenario that will follow on the U.S. administration, for its “amateur” and “ignorant” handling of the region.
Issacharoff said that for once, U.S Secretary of State John Kerry’s estimation that the PA will collapse is correct, except that a more accurate term would be “disintegration” – and Thursday’s incident in which Mazen Aribe, a member of the PA’s Preventive Security Services, opened fire on Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the West Bank marks the beginning of that disintegration.
Palestinian security services ostensibly work with Israel to curb Palestinian terrorism. Yet after the PA policeman was shot and killed by IDF soldiers for opening fire on them, the PA sent the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiator Saeb Erekat and the mayor of Jericho to visit the home of the attacker’s family.
In doing so not only did the PA fail to condemn the shooting, they sent out a message of support for such actions. From this point on, asserts Issacharoff, it’s a slippery slope to all-out chaos.
Members of Palestinian security services will begin to attack Israeli targets with more frequency, sparking an Israeli retaliation begetting Palestinian casualties, he argued. As Issacharoff notes, this already happened at the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, where Palestinian soldiers and police joined demonstrations and attacks against Israelis.
Shortly thereafter, security coordination between Israel and the PA would end followed by a suspension of tax monies that Israel funnels to the PA to pay security personnel’s salaries. This would only serve to escalate the situation, with more members of PA security joining the foray against Israel.
Issacharoff predicts the possibility that PA President Mahmoud Abbas would make good on his oft-repeated promise of “returning the keys” to Israel – i.e. handing over control of the West Bank back to Israel and dissolving the PA. Abbas, Issacharoff conjectures, will go all out, “If there must be occupation, then let’s have a full occupation.”
This would yield the way for terror groups like Hamas to reinstate their presence in the West Bank. “The security and economic burden on Israel will be heavy,” writes Issacharoff. “And, of course, in the longer term there will be a departure from the vision of two states, or — as they will call it on the right — a sobering up. Welcome to the binational state.”
For its part, the Obama administration has only itself to blame for being “an expert at making fatal mistakes in the Middle East” and showing “amateurism” and “ignorance” when dealing with the region’s problems.
President Obama’s “almost-obsessive focus” on pushing a settlement freeze has meant that Abbas now refuses to enter talks without a moratorium – something that was never discussed before Obama.
“The White House and the U.S. administration do not have anything to be proud of regarding the Middle East, including the Iran deal,” states Issacharoff. “The Iranian monster is stronger than ever and will harmfully influence the region.”
Ultimately, concludes Issacharoff, when Obama leaves the presidency he will also be leaving the Middle East in tatters, and for Israel the worst is yet to come.