It is crucial to remember that the PA does not have any legal or democratic mandate to speak on behalf of the people of Palestine or to represent the Palestinians at the UN or any of its agencies and institutions. The current PA government has never won the necessary constitutional approval of the democratically elected Palestinian Legislative Council. Even if it had such a mandate, at best it would only represent the Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, excluding the great majority of the people of Palestine, particularly the refugees.
Only the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PLO, can theoretically claim to represent the entirety of the Palestinian people: inside historic Palestine and in exile. For such a claim to be substantiated and universally accepted by Palestinians everywhere, though, the PLO would need to be revived from the grassroots upwards, in a transparent, democratic and inclusive process that involves Palestinians everywhere and encompasses all the political parties that are outside the PLO structures today. In parallel with this democratic reclamation or popular take-back of the PLO by the people and their representative unions and institutions, the PA must be responsibly and gradually dismantled, with its current powers, particularly the representation seats at the UN and other regional and international institutions, returned to where they belong, to the real representative of all the people of Palestine, the revived and democratized PLO. This dissolution of the PA, however, must at all times avoid creating a legal and political vacuum, as history shows that hegemonic powers are often the most likely to fill such a vacuum to the detriment of the oppressed.
The fact is the PA has been gradually and irreversibly transformed since its establishment 15 years ago from a mere — often powerless, obsequious and coerced — sub-contractor of the Israeli occupation regime, relieving it of its most cumbersome civil duties, like the provision of services and tax collection, and, most crucially, very effectively helping it safeguard the security of its occupation army and colonial settlers, into a willing collaborator that constitutes Israel’s most important strategic weapon in countering its growing isolation and loss of legitimacy on the world stage as a colonial and apartheid state. Israel’s hundreds of nuclear weapons and its fourth largest army in the world proved impotent or at least irrelevant before the growing BDS movement, particularly after Israel’s acts of genocide in Gaza. The almost unlimited diplomatic, political, economic and scientific support Israel receives from the US and European governments and its unparalleled impunity have also failed to protect it from the gloomy fate of apartheid South Africa.