RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has warned he may dissolve his self-rule government and ask Israel to resume full control of the West Bank if troubled peace talks fail.
Dismantling the Palestinian Authority would be a last resort, Abbas told Palestine TV in an interview broadcast late Friday. However, his comments marked the most explicit warning yet that he's considering a step that could crush lingering hopes for a Mideast peace deal.
If Abbas were to take such a step, Israel, as a military occupier, would have to assume full responsibility again for 2.2 million Palestinians in the West Bank. Israel was relieved of that financial burden with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, as part of interim peace deals.
Still, Abbas might face considerable domestic opposition to dismantling the Palestinian Authority, since it employs some 150,000 Palestinians, a large chunk of the work force.