US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs; Hady Amr; warned Israeli authorities on Friday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) faces an unprecedented “difficult and dangerous” situation; both economically and politically.
Amr urged Israel to take steps needed to ensure the PA is reinforced; said well-informed sources under the conditions of anonymity.
Citing three Israeli officials who participated in talks with Amr; sources said the US official was “very worried” after early week discussions with PA officials in Ramallah.
After meeting PA President Mahmoud Abbas; Amr described never having seen the semi-autonomous government “in a worse situation.”
Last Sunday; President Joe Biden’s point man for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict visited Ramallah to talk to Palestinian representatives; then moved to Israel; where he met with officials from the foreign; finance; and the regional cooperation ministries in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Amr also met with the Israeli army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Ghassan Alian.
The Israeli officials added that Amr told them that the combination of the financial and political crises puts the Palestinian Authority in a very precarious situation.
“It is like a dry forest waiting to catch on fire;” he said; according to sources.
Amr said the Palestinian administration could not afford to pay salaries because of the economic crisis; and the political turmoil in Palestine led to instability and a dangerous situation.
The US official suggested relatively rapid improvement steps Israel could take to help the Palestinian economy and the PA’s budget to improve the government’s standing.
According to sources; Israeli officials responded positively to Amr’s proposals; even though they tried blaming the coronavirus and lockdowns for exacerbating the PA’s financial crisis.
A source familiar with Amr’s talks said he stressed to both Palestinian and Israeli officials that he isn’t going to press them or beg for them to take steps; and they will have to work it out themselves.
“If you want the US to help; we will be happy to do it;” the envoy allegedly said.