Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday declared that the PA will end all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the United States, including security agreements, citing the prospect of the new Israeli government annexing of parts of the West Bank.
Abbas said in his speech at a Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah: “The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] and the state of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the commitments based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones”.
Palestinian sources however have told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that cooperation with Israel is continuing. According to Haaretz, a Palestinian official who attended the meeting said PA President intends to stop coordination, but had not yet “closed the door”. He said the security forces may lower the level of engagement with their counterparts in Israel, but it is not yet possible to determine that coordination will be completely stopped.
Haaretz cites a Palestinian security official who said that despite Abbas’ statements, every move taken by the PA requires coordination with Israel. The source adds that in the event that the PA requests assistance from another country, they will have to do so in coordination with Israel. According to the source, Abbas stated that the PA is committed to combating terrorism, which requires continued security coordination between the states.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he “regrets Abbas’s statement and hopes security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians will continue… The Palestinians have continued to refuse to just simply sit down and enter into a negotiation based on President Trump’s vision for peace”.
The PA president has threatened to stop such cooperation several times before, and it is unclear what his declaration will mean in practice.