(JNS) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset panel recently that the Palestinian Authority “could not be allowed” to collapse, but that Palestinians’ desire for an independent state “must be cut off.”
The premier made the remarks in a closed-door meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chaired by MK Yuli Edelstein of Netanyahu’s Likud party, according to Kan News.
He also said that Israel was making preparations for “the day after Abu Mazen,” in reference to octogenarian P.A. chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is now in the eighteenth year of a four-year term as P.A. president.
The Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported earlier this month that Abbas’s health has deteriorated and that he may not be able to fulfill his duties, although he recently returned from a diplomatic visit to China.
Abbas has not named a successor, and Palestinian polling shows strong support for the Gaza-based terror group Hamas and negative views of Abbas and his Fatah party.
“We need the Palestinian Authority. We cannot allow it to collapse. We also do not want it to collapse. We are ready to help it financially. We have an interest in the P.A. continuing to work. Where it succeeds in operating, it does the job for us. And we have no interest in it falling,” said Netanyahu, according to Kan.