by Saud Abu Ramadan
RAMALLAH, April 20 (Xinhua) -- As the Middle East peace talks deteriorate, some officials in Ramallah are saying that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has only one major option left -- to dissolve the Palestinian National Authority and thus render the Palestinian territories a state under occupation, a move that would "increase legal and international pressure on Israel."
With the April 29 deadline fast approaching on the faltering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Palestinian negotiators are preparing to meet on April 26 to discuss what the next steps will be, if the talks fail.
Wassel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, said that disbanding the government would signal that the Palestinians feel maintaining the authority is useless if peace talks end without reaching an agreement based on the two-state solution.
"Right now, the PNA is clearly restricted by Israeli measures and policies. Therefore, dissolving the PNA, quitting the transitional agreements and turning Palestine into a state under Israeli occupation may create a new reality," Abu Yousef said.
The PNA was established in accordance to the 1993 Oslo peace accords reached between Israel and the PLO. It was intended to be a temporary transitional entity. However, in 1999 Palestinian leaders extended PNA's transitional presence, which continues to exist till this day, while peace negotiations are pursued.
However, some say dissolving the PNA and turning the Palestinian territories into a state under the Israeli occupation could easily enable the Palestinians to join all international treaties and agencies, and could also be an alternative to the stalled peace negotiations.
"Joining the treaties and agencies will enable the Palestinians to apply to the international courts and sue the Israelis for their crimes they commit against the Palestinians," Abu Yousef said. "This will bring the Palestinian issue to the halls of the United Nations."
Palestinian advocates for this option believe that bringing the issue to the United Nations will allow the Palestinians to request international protection and support to liberate the occupied lands of a non-member observer state.
Sha'wan Jabarin, an expert on international law, said that the PNA's presence actually benefits Israel and has helped Israel renege on its legal commitment as "an occupying power," adding that appealing to the international community is a more viable option.
During a meeting in Ramallah on Friday with members of the Israeli parliament, President Abbas threatened to dissolve the PNA if the peace talks fail.
Israeli media had then reported that officials in the Israeli army said Palestinian security officials intended to dismantle the Palestinian security apparatus and disarm their security forces, signaling an end to their security cooperation with Israel.
Israel's left-wing leaders warned that such a step will be dangerous for the future of the entire region. They slammed the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging to take measures to avoid this scenario.
George Jaqman, head of the Democratic Studies Center in Ramallah, said that despite the fears, it is unlikely the PNA will dissolve "because Israel and many countries in the region will have their interests damaged if the security cooperation ends."
The peace talks between the two sides have been deadlocked ever since Israel reneged on its decision to free some long-term prisoners and refused to freeze settlement building.
The Palestinians have rejected Israeli offers which they say are unfair. Instead they insisted on the formation of an independent Palestinian state on the territories that Israel occupied in 1967, with east Jerusalem as its capital, along with a resolution to refugee and water issues.