On January 30, 2023, the Mitvim Institute held a simulation exercise to explore various scenarios related to Israel-Palestinian Authority (PA) relations, and the involvement of regional and international actors in this arena, in the wake of the departure of the PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and against the backdrop of the new Israeli government.
The framework of the simulation was an emergency international summit convened at the initiative of the United States three days after the announcement of Abbas’ passing, and in light of the relevant actors’ need to confront this new reality. The opening scenario included the appointment of Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh and General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj as interim PA co-chairs until elections are held. It was based on assumptions regarding the existing political reality in Israel following the establishment of a new government, tensions between Israeli security agencies and the political leadership of the settlement movement, as well as instability and violence on the ground.
The agenda focused on ways of maintaining stability in the region, steps to restore calm and a road map for future relations between Israel and the PA. Participants in the summit included Israeli and PA officials and representatives of Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states, and the European Union (EU). The three Israeli players were Benjamin Netanyahu (prime minister), IDF Chief Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi (security establishment), and Minister Bezalel Smotrich (settlement leadership). On the Palestinian side, the three players were al-Sheikh and Faraj (interim PA leadership), Marwan Barghouti (rival Fatah leadership) and Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas).
The simulation was conducted as part of a research project funded by the British government, but the positions presented here do not necessarily represent the positions of the British government.