Benjamin Netanyahu: 'Palestinian Authority cannot be allowed to collapse'

The Israeli prime minister spoke about the PA in a closed-door Knesset meeting


BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 16: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) speak to the media following talks at the Chancellery on March 16, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. Netanyahu's one-day visit to Berlin is being accompanied by protests, including both by people angry over Israel’s policies towards Palestinians as well as those critical of possible new legislation in Israel supported by Netanyahu that would undermine the independence and the power of Israel's Supreme Court, effectively curtailing democracy in Israel. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Benjamin Netanyahu has said the Palestinian Authority "cannot be allowed" to collapse.

The Israeli Prime Minister also told a Knesset panel recently that the Palestinians' desire for an independent state “must be suppressed."

Netanyahu made the remarks in a closed-door meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defence 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 PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is now in the eighteenth year of a four-year term as PA president.

According to Kan, Netanyahu added: “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 PA continuing to work. Where it succeeds in operating, it does the job for us. And we have no interest in it falling.”

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.

The Israeli PM later praised the thwarting of what he said was an Iranian attack against Israeli targets in Cyprus on Sunday. 

A statement from Netanyahu's office did not give any more details, but Israeli news website Ynet, without disclosing its sources, said an attack had been planned against Israelis staying in the city of Limassol.

Netanyahu's office said: "Israel welcomes the foiling of the Iranian terrorist attack in the territory of Cyprus against Israeli targets.

"Israel operates everywhere in a wide variety of methods in order to protect Jews and Israelis and will continue to act to sever Iranian terrorism wherever it raises its head, including on Iranian soil.”

Cyprus authorities declined to comment on whether an attack had been foiled.

Asked about the Israeli statement, Cyprus government spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis said: "We cannot comment on issues regarding national security."

In 2021, Israel accused Iran of orchestrating an attempted attack against Israelis in Cyprus after police on the Mediterranean island said an armed individual had been arrested. Iran denied the accusation. 

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