Upgrading the PA's Status?

Olmert and Abbas have agreed to informal talks about the 'nature' of the future Palestinian state. The powers and authorities of such a state lie somewhere between the current status of the PA and a fully fledged sovereign state.

Today's Ha'aretz reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen have agreed to "informal talks" about the nature of a future Palestinian state.

However, due to fundamental disagreements between the sides with regards to Permanent Status Issues, it is highly unlikely that a Permanent Status agreement will be reached. Therefore, if a Palestinian state is created at this stage, its attributes of statehood are likely to be compromised.

Thus, what would be the nature of such a state?

While the Roadmap does not specify what authorities a Palestinian state with Provisional Borders (PSPB) would have, the reality on the ground suggests that such a state would likely have more powers and authorities than the current PA, but less than those of a full-fledged sovereign Palestinian state established after Permanent Status agreement.

The Reut Institute defines a State's sovereignty as being reflected in four different spheres: political, economic, security and territorial. Thus, the new Palestinian aspects of sovereignty could become active in the economic and political spheres yet are unlikely to be reflected in the security and territorial spheres in which the ongoing conflict with Israel requires certain sovereign restrictions.

For more on this issue, see 'The Road map and the Future of the Palestinian State with Provisional Borders'.

Sources

Aluf Benn, Ha'aretz, 1/21/07; full text.