(West Bank): Palestinian 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.
"If all efforts fail", Abbas said,
“I will tell the Americans and the Israelis, come and put an end
to all this. I can’t continue like this. We have an occupation and
we don’t. No, keep it all and release me (from my
Mahmoud Abbas's 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.
The Palestinian self-rule government, which receives hundreds of
millions of dollars a year in foreign aid, has limited authority
over 40 percent of the war-won West Bank, while Israel has final
say over the entire area and exclusive control over 60 percent of
Palestinian leaders currently are threatening to quit peace talks
with Israel unless it freezes construction in the West Bank and
east Jerusalem. Israel so far has refused to do so.
Abbas also said that if peace negotiations collapse, the
Palestinians might seek unilateral UN recognition of a state in
the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, territories Israel
captured in the 1967 Mideast War.