The Palestinian Authority is quietly bracing for the prospect of collapse amid the unprecedented violence by members of the ruling Fatah movement. PA leaders have acknowledged that they cannot stem the chaos in Palestinian areas or count on the loyalty of the police and security forces, in many cases bolstered by Western aid and training. Indeed, the PA reports that many of the gun battles that rage through Palestinian cities have included security officers who have joined Fatah operatives in extortion and other criminal activities. Rather than order an offensive, PA leaders have sought to appease Fatah factions and offer them jobs and housing while promising security commanders that they would delay or revise plans to reform the security services. At the same time, senior PA officials have used the official media to blame Israel for the violence and recycle canards used before the Palestinian war in 2000.

Bracing for Collapse: Abbas Loses Control in PA Areas