Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has escalated his aggressive rhetoric against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank as the barbaric war on Gaza unfolds. The escalation is considered as following an agenda of opening an all-out confrontation with the Palestinians to serve the goals of the most hardline Israeli far-right government that dreams of doing away with the Palestinian cause.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu in the meeting of the Knessetís Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said that he is preparing for possibility of war with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and pledged not to allow the PA to rule Gaza after the war. He also said on Monday that the number of Israelis killed in Hamasí October 7 operation is equivalent to the death toll resulted from the Oslo Accords.
These remarks drew reactions from the PA officials. The Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Hussein Sheikh in an X post said: "Netanyahuís statements prove that his war is against all Palestinians. We tell Netanyahu that Oslo [Accords] died under his tanks that are attacking all our cities, villages and camps from Jenin to Rafah."
In response to Netanyahuís statements, the PA spokesman Nabil Aburdineh said that these statements "clearly state his pre-planned intentions and the existence of Israelís decision to start a war in the West Bank."
Hamas movement, too, reacted to the Israeli PMís remarks, stating that these words prove that the occupying regime does not pay any attention to the so-called political solutions and is trying to stabilize its occupation, especially in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Hamas asked the PA and its affiliated institutions to abandon the Oslo agreement to which the Israeli enemy has never committed, stop security coordination with Tel Aviv, and move towards all-out confrontation with the Israelis.
The remarks of Netanyahu and his hardline government ministers against the PA have been reflected in the political and military scene since the start of the brutal invasion of Gaza, and the Israeli forces have killed hundreds of people and injured and arrested thousands others in frequent attacks on the West Bank. Netanyahuís comments about Gaza and the West Bank are a result of his governmentís failure and desperation against the resistance groups, and he is trying to convince the public that are fed up with the policies of the cabinet that he has managed to make gains against the Palestinians.
Before Hamas operation, Netanyahu had said that the PA has to strengthen itself, but he has now changed his stances and is seeking to block any future role for the PA in Gaza through escalation, especially that the US is working out arrangements to entrust administration of Gaza to the PA, something Netanyahu is strongly opposed to. Netanyahuís main goal behind escalation against the PA is to secure full alignment with the agenda of the government which is seeking full settlement of the Palestinian case with a plan in which there is no Palestinian state and the only state is Jewish.
That Netanyahu describes Oslo Accords as a disaster proves that his government wants to revoke the agreement to seize full control of the three areas of the West Bank whose rule under the deal was given to the PA. Actually, Tel Aviv seeks to take the control of the Area A where the PA administers civil and security matters.
Netanyahu clarified realities to the PA
Netanyahuís remarks are a wake-up call to the PA President Mahmoud Abbas that the optimism about control of post-war Gaza is nothing but a mirage. Netanyahu is angry with Abbas who has not condemned Hamas operation and accuses him of collusion with resistance groups.
However, despite the security and political escalation and putting the war option on the table by Tel Aviv, the PA has not suspended its security and intelligence cooperation with the Israeli government and chose passive approach to Gaza developments. Still, Netanyahu told Abbas the bitter truth. So, now the PA understands that the Israeli war is against all Palestinians and the Israeli occupation does not differentiate between Hamas and the PA.
Therefore, if the PA had not kept silent to Tel Avivís aggression in Gaza and showed a strong reaction or at least left the hands of the resistance groups in the West Bank open to act against the Israeli settlers, they might have been able to deal a strong blow to the Israeli enemy, as it is a nightmare for the Israeli government radicals to see a the West Bank rising as a second front against them.
The PA has lost its legitimacy among the West Bank Palestinians in recent years for its intelligence and security cooperation with the Israeli government, with the public deeming Abbas a compromising figure who sacrifices national interests to his personal ambitions. So, after recent Netanyahu remarks, the public pressures on the PA to end cooperation with the occupation will increase as the people argue that working with the Israelis on the ruins of the Oslo Accords is a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and accept no excuse in this case.
If on the off chance Israel manages to destroy Hamas, Netanyahu will grow more daring and will do away with the fledgling resistance groups in the West Bank. To realize this scenario, the Israeli military may like the past attack Jenin and other West Bank cities and repeat their Gaza crimes. After all, for the cabinet hardliners, full occupation of the Al-Quds is a priority and they push to realize this scenario by any means and finally establish the Solomonís Temple.
To avoid further contentment among the public, the PA should end all forms of cooperation with the Israelis and help the resistance groups to liberate the occupied lands to save what remains of its public image.
Dream of handing over Gaza to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh
Since Netanyahu no longer trusts the PA and considers it an accomplice to Hamas, he set a new plan for the future of Gaza. Netanyahu told the Knesset members that after the war, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will pay for the reconstruction of Gaza, a claim that the rulers of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have not reacted to yet, but it is a dream of Netanyahu to open the door to the two countries in Gaza developments to strengthen the pillars of the dying normalization project with the Arab countries.
Netanyahu on the one hand wants to get rid of resistance threats and guarantee security of the settlers forever and on the other hand sow division among the Arabs as a long term goal by handing over administration of Gaza to Saudi Arabia and destroying Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated resistance. The Israelis managed to release a number of their prisoners through Qatar mediation, but they are angry with Doha for its stances towards Gaza war and support for the Palestinians. In the middle of war, a Mossad official was cited a saying that Tel Aviv will take revenge on Doha after war. Some political experts suggest that the Mossad and CIA officials raised the idea of assassination of Doha-hosted Hamas leaders with Qatari officials, but the latter rejected the proposal.
Therefore, Saudi and Qatari involvement in Gaza reconstruction is meant to cut off Qatar role in the Palestinian case, and by doing do, Netanyahu both seeks to take revenge on Doha and deepen the gap inside the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council to rattle the front of regional supporters of Palestine.
Tel Aviv officials believe that October 7 war provides a chance for settling the Palestine case through wiping Gaza off the map and fully occupying the West Bank through expansion of settlements for establishing an all-Jewish state. What matters the most for Netanyahu at this point is not rebuilding the PA but inflaming an all-out confrontation with the Palestinians until Tel Avivís major goals are realized.