RAMALLAH - The Palestinians have no intention to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Tuesday.
"But Israel's actions have annulled all the legal, political, security, economic and operational aspects of the prerogatives of the Palestinian Authority," said Erekat.
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The Palestinian negotiating team reportedly warned US mediator Martin Indyk last week that they may decide to dismantle the Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, in order to shift responsibility of governing the Palestinian territory and its 2.5 million residents to Israel, should peace talks fail.
"Those kinds of extreme measures would have grave implications" on the future of US financial aid to the Palestinians, US State Department Spokeswoman Jenn Psaki warned Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, accused the Palestinian Authority of trying to undermine the peace process.
"Yesterday the Palestinian Authority discussed dismantling, today it is mulling uniting with Hamas. Let them decide whether to dismantle or unite. When they want peace, they should let us know," he said on Monday.
Palestinians have previously raised the possibility of dissolving the PA, created as a result of the 1993 Oslo Accords to administer the autonomous areas of the West Bank, but this is the first time the threat is wielded since the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks under the auspices of US Secretary of State John Kerry last July.
The Palestinian Authority, supported by the international community, is constantly faced with serious financial difficulties and depends on foreign aid for survival.