The Palestine Liberation Organization is once again threatening to disband the Palestinian Authority and transfer overall control of West Bank towns and cities to Israel.
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Friday, the PLO's secretary-general and top peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the interim administration in Ramallah that was created by dint of the Oslo Accords is on the verge of shutting down.
"Very soon, you’re going to hear some decisions," Erekat told Al Jazeera. "We are an authority without an authority. Soon enough [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu will find himself the only [one] responsible between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean because he’s destroying the Palestinian Authority.”
“The PA...is being destroyed, finished by Netanyahu," Erekat said. "Now we’re not going to be an authority by name. Yes, if Netanyahu thinks he can sustain the status quo we’re telling him you’re wrong and you’re invited to assume your powers as the occupying power.”
When asked about the recent wave of Palestinian violence against Israelis in Jerusalem and elsewhere, Erekat said “we don't condone the killing of people, we want to make peace, we want to save lives, Israelis and Palestinians”.
“We are fully supporting our people and their cry for freedom,” he said of the Palestinians.
The veteran peace negotiator also accused Netanyahu of aiming for an “apartheid” regime in Israel and the West Bank.
“He doesn’t seek a two-state solution, he seeks one state, two systems – apartheid,” Erekat said.
The Palestinians have threatened to dissolve the PA on numerous occasions in the past, only to backtrack under pressure from Israel and the United States.
In his address last month at the United Nations General Assembly, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dropped his promised bombshell when he threatened to stop abiding by the Oslo Accords, which have governed the relations between Israel and the Palestinians for more than two decades.
“Israel has destroyed the foundations upon which the political and security agreements are based,” Abbas said.
“We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all its responsibilities as an occupying power, because the status quo cannot continue....As long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, it leaves us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements.”
Although he directly referred to the Oslo Accords, he stopped short of stating that they had been annulled, and instead relied on watered-down language that tempered the impact.
Senior Palestinian officials have said that Abbas changed the text from concrete action to a threat under pressure from US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Palestinian leader also did not clearly announce the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority or the canceling of security cooperation with Israel, as some speculated he would. Nor did he resign.
Abbas warned that either the PA would be a transitional power moving toward independent statehood, or Israel must take full control of the Palestinian people as an occupying power.
“Either the Palestinian National Authority will be the conduit of the Palestinian people from occupation to independence, or Israel, the occupying power, must bear all of its responsibilities,” he said. “The state of Palestine, based on pre-1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, is recognized by 137 countries and should be considered a state under occupation, as was the case for many countries during World War II.”