‘Dire Situation’ – Norway Warns PA on Verge of Collapse in West Bank

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Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

At an international partner meeting on Palestine in Brussels last month, Barth Eide said the situation on the ground – not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank – is “dire”.

The Norwegian government has warned that the Palestinian Authority (PA) could collapse in the coming months, citing a lack of funding among the reasons.

“The situation is extremely dire. The Palestinian Authority, with whom we work closely, are warning us that they might be collapsing this summer,” Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told the Reuters news agency.

“If it collapses, you could end up having another Gaza, which would be terrible for everybody, including the people of Israel,” he stated.

Other factors for a possible collapse are the escalation of tensions in the occupied West Bank as well as the employment restrictions placed on half a million Palestinians not being permitted to work in Israel.

Norway, a backer of the PA, chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians.

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Call to Israel

At an international partner meeting on Palestine in Brussels last month, Barth Eide said the situation on the ground – not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank – is “dire”, as well as the situation of the PA.

The role of the PA, he added, “is crucial for service delivery” to the Palestinian people and that it was “necessary to further develop the institutions and the governance structures for the people in the West Bank.”

“Not only are funds that belong to Palestine being held back by Israel, and I would reiterate my call that Israel must transfer the clearance revenues in full,” he stressed. “But we also have the effect of more than half a million of Palestinian people that no longer is able to work, and many of these support large families which again has reduced the circulation of the Palestinian economy.”

“Then comes the effects of the war so there’s an accumulated effect which makes the economic situation very problematic,” he added.

Further Sanctions

On Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel’s security cabinet was “expected to level further monetary sanctions against the PA for its support of terror and its initiatives against Israel on the international stage, including at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”

The paper said it is also considering authorizing four new settlements, “one for each of the four European countries that unilaterally recognized Palestinian statehood in the last two months.” Those countries are Spain, Norway, Ireland, and Slovenia.

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According to the paper, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on Monday “This is a clear message that we are sending to the countries that cooperate with the plans to eliminate Israel.“

He stated, “Every country that cooperates with anti-Israeli activity and recognizes the Palestinian Authority as a country will know that it helps the Zionist enterprise and the strengthening of Jewish settlement in the country.”

Smotrich had submitted a proposal on economic sanctions and settlement authorization to the cabinet and expected it would be approved, the paper said.

“The decision, which was brought in coordination with the prime minister, comes against the background of the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to gain support in the world to act against the State of Israel in legal arenas and to bring about the recognition of a Palestinian state,” the Finance Minister said.

He added that the proposal did not come up for a vote on Sunday, due to “technical reasons,” and that he expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to advance the proposals this week.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)



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