Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has no intention of dissolving the Palestinian Authority, although it has been rendered largely powerless by Israel, he told a newspaper on Monday.
In an interview published a day before a senior Palestinian delegation is to deliver a letter from Abbas to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian leader said breaking up the authority he heads would not happen.
“There are many reasons which have contributed to the weakening of the Palestinian Authority, but its dissolution is out of the question,” Abbas told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam.
In the letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP on Sunday, Abbas says Israel’s actions have stripped the Palestinian Authority of its “raison d’etre,” creating a reality which cannot continue.
“As a result of actions taken by successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian National Authority no longer has any authority, and no meaningful jurisdiction in the political, economic, territorial and security spheres,” he wrote.
The letter will be personally delivered to Netanyahu by Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad when they meet in Jerusalem on Tuesday, said negotiator Saeb Erakat, who will be part of the delegation along with Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
An earlier draft of the letter had reportedly included threats to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and turn the entire responsibility for the occupied territories over to Israel.
But all such references had been removed, partly due to heavy US pressure, the Haaretz newspaper reported earlier this month.
Netanyahu is also preparing his own letter for Abbas which will be handed over by Israel’s chief negotiator Yitzak Molcho, when he meets the Palestinian leader in the coming weeks.
Tuesday’s meeting will be the first top-level meeting between the two sides since the peace process ground to a halt more than 18 months ago in a bitter dispute over Jewish settlement building.