Palestinian Authority sources estimated Sunday morning that should Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
form a new government, or in the event of early Knesset elections, peace negotiations with Israel
would be frozen for several months.
PA officials have been working with the United States in order to maintain the principles and understandings reached in the recent months of negotiations and have them serve as a basis for future talks with any new Israeli leadership.
Senior PA officials conveyed a clear threat to Livni. Rafik Husseini, the top adviser to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,
told The Sunday Telegraph
that Palestinian politicians may take the drastic step of disbanding the authority if a lasting agreement is not reached during the current peace negotiations.
Such a move would mark the end of the US-backed talks launched with much fanfare at Annapolis last November, the report said, and put day-to-day Palestinian governance back in Israeli hands, almost certainly igniting fresh violence in the process.
"The Palestinian Authority is only a vehicle to achieve the interests and rights of the Palestinian people. Vehicles come and go," said the senior Palestinian official.
Husseini added that the deadline for the agreement remained the end of the year, as urged by US President George W. Bush at the Annapolis peace conference.
The Palestinians are considering demanding a "letter of guarantees" from the US, stating that the principles presented to the two sides by the Americans would remain the basic principles for any future negotiations, with the sides required to agree on the details and implementation of those principles.
Sources in the PA have said that the best option as far as they are concerned is that Ehud Olmert continues to serve as prime minister for a few more months, although they are aware of the claims that he would have no legal and moral mandate to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.
A Palestinian source told Ynet that the PA is not afraid of elections in Israel which would return Benjamin Netanyahu to the Prime Minister's Office.
"A Netanyahu-led government will recruit the entire world against it, leading to much greater pressure on it than on a government comprised of Kadima and the Labor Party. The Kadima-Labor government's talks about peace reduce the pressures, although these talks are not translated into progress in the diplomatic process," the source said.