Is Israel recognizing the Palestinian national unity government after all?

If the Israeli government insists on boycotting the new Palestinian unity government, how can it also insist on pouring money into the Palestinian Authority?

By the end of June, Israel is expected to once more sit at the same table as the Palestinian Authority – the same Palestinian Authority that it has been so adamant on boycotting following the formation of the new national unity government. The two parties will sit together with the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), a coordinating body formed in 1993 to regulate donations from various states to the PA, with Israel as a monitoring party, at an annual meeting in Brussels on June 24th.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs told +972 that Israel plans to take part in the meeting, although formal invitations have not yet sent out by the chairman, who is based in Norway.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the swearing in ceremony for the new unity government, Ramallah, June 2, 2014. (Photo: Mustafa Bader/
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the swearing in ceremony for the new unity government, Ramallah, June 2, 2014. (Photo: Mustafa Bader/

Since its formation , Israel has been trying to discourage the international community from recognizing  the national unity government – and has been failing miserably. The U.S., Russia, EU, UN and many other countries have ignored Israel’s warnings that because the new government includes Hamas, it is therefore considered a terrorist-influenced government. Israel itself has announced that all negotiations will come to a halt, that it will forbid Palestinian elections from taking place in East Jerusalem and that new construction in the settlements will be launched in retaliation. In spite of all this, it appears that in two weeks, the same Israeli government will be encouraging donor states at the AHLC to send their money in order to sustain the PA. How is this possible?

The fact is, it is not only possible but also quite reasonable for Netanyahu to act this way. From the Israeli political center’s point of view – which strives to keep the status quo going for as long as it can – there is nothing worse than the idea of the PA collapsing. Even recognizing the Hamas-supported government is better than losing the authority that serves as the occupation’s sub-contractor – the one running the daily lives of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and the walled-in cities of the West Bank. It might be a bit embarrassing, but if it helps keep international money flowing to fund Palestinian salaries, and keep the lid on the possibility of future uprisings – we’ll just have to take it.

The Prime Minister’s Office has yet to respond to my question on how attending the AHLC meeting corresponds with the PM’s stated attitude towards the new Palestinian government. The question, I might add, was sent over a week ago.

Read this post in Hebrew on Local Call.

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