Kerry Warns: Hamas, Jihad to Take Power if PA Disbands

WASHINGTON, February 25, 2015 (WAFA) – The fall of the Palestinian Authority would seriously impede Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts, the United States Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday.

“If they [the Palestinian Authority] were to fail, what takes their place? Hamas? Jihad? I don’t know,” Kerry asked lawmakers during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I just know that as troublesome as they have been in certain respects at many times, that President Abbas remains committed to a nonviolent, peaceful approach to a two-state solution.”

Last Saturday, Kerry warned about a potential collapse of the Palestinian Authority, as Israel continues to withhold the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA for the second month.

He also warned that Israel’s withholding of the Palestinian tax revenues could spell over the region.

While the US opposed PA’s move of joining the International Criminal Court last December, it has raised concerns with Israel about its decision to freeze the transfer of more than $100 million (65 million pounds) in tax revenues collected on behalf of the PA.

Last week, President Mahmoud Abbas warned that the PA would take harsh steps if Israel continues to illegally withhold the tax revenues it collects.

“If Israel continues to withhold our money, we will be obliged to take harsh steps,” he said during an official visit to Luxembourg on February 14.

“There is a serious issue; Israel is withholding our money, which entails putting the Palestinian state at an impasse. Therefore, we call on the world to exert the necessary pressure to compel Israel to release our money. Otherwise, we will be obliged to take some harsh steps.”