US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki yesterday warned that the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is reportedly being considered by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, would have severe consequences for US-Palestinian relations.

It was reported last week that Abbas told a delegation of MKs visiting Ramallah that if peace talks remain at an impasse, then he will “hand over the keys” of the West Bank to Israel. It is thought that during a meeting with Israeli negotiators and US special envoy Martin Indyk on Thursday, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Abbas is seriously weighing dissolving the PA if peace talks do not continue beyond next Tuesday’s deadline.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Psaki said, “A great effort has been made in the last few years to build Palestinian institutions … Dissolving the Palestinian Authority is not in the interest of the Palestinians … and will have implications on our relationship and our assistance.” She added that “those kinds of extreme measures [dissolving the PA] would have grave implications” on US-Palestinian relations.

The threat to dissolve the PA is viewed by many as a measure to pressure Israel and the United States to acquiesce to Palestinian demands for extending talks beyond 29 April. Israel Radionews says several Palestinian officials have dismissed talk of dissolution as unrealistic, butHaaretz quotes an unnamed senior Israeli official who believes that the PA is “seriously considering drastic measures.” The Fatah Central Committee, headed by Abbas, is expected to meet this weekend for the first time since 2009, at which a decision over peace talks and the future of the PA could be taken.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented yesterday on the uncertainty and the arrival of a Fatah delegation in Gaza for unity talks with Hamas. Netanyahu said that the PA “should decide – either dissolve, or enter into a union with Hamas. When they want peace, they should let us know. Because we want a genuine peace.”