PA’s Mahmoud Abbas declares suspension of all deals with Israel
Palestinian president says committee will be formed to end agreements with Israel but does not provide further details.
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has announced the suspension of all agreements signed with Israel.
The 84-year-old’s declaration on Thursday came after an emergency meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the wake of Israel’s demolition this week of several Palestinian buildings in Sur Baher village – a move Abbas described as an act of “ethnic cleansing”.
“We announce the leadership’s decision to stop implementing the agreements signed with the Israeli side,” Abbas said at a speech in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
He added that a committee would be set up in order to implement the decision but did not offer additional information.
“We will not bow to dictates and imposing a fait accompli by force in Jerusalem and elsewhere,” Abbas said.
Abbas said the move comes as Israeli authorities “ignore” all the signed agreements with the PA.
The two sides work together on matters ranging from water usage, electricity, economic relations and security.
Local media quoted Omar al-Ghoul, an adviser to Abbas, as saying that the Palestinian president’s statement “also includes security coordination”, but did not go into details.
Israel razes Palestinian homes
On Monday, bulldozers accompanied by hundreds of Israeli soldiers moved into the village’s Wadi al-Hummus neighbourhood and razed several buildings.
Israeli authorities claim that the buildings were constructed too close to its separation wall without a permit, but Palestinians say they had obtained the required licensing.
They also accuse Israel of using security as a pretext to force them out of the area as part of long-term efforts to expand Jewish settlements. All settlements on occupied Palestinian lands are illegal under international law.
“There is no peace, no security and no stability in our region and the whole world without our Palestinian people achieving their full rights,” Abbas said.
Abbas said that while he believes in comprehensive, just and lasting peace, the Palestinian people will not accept the continuation of the Israeli occupation’s status quo, nor the so-called United States-backed “deal of the century” peace process.
“We will not surrender, we will not coexist with the occupation and we will not deal with the deal of deal of the century, or the slap of the century or the deal of shame – all names for one title,” Abbas said.
“Palestine and Jerusalem are not for sale and bargain. They are not a real estate deal in a real estate company.”
‘Step in right direction’
In the meeting, Abbas also affirmed it was time to implement the Cairo 2017 agreement brokered by Egypt, referring to a reconciliation deal signed between Palestinian political parties Hamas and Fatah.
Hamas released a statement on Friday, supporting Abbas’s decision to suspend all agreements with Israel as a “step taken in the right direction”.
“The decision is in line with the requirements of the difficult stage of the Palestinian issue, correcting the wrong tracks that have distorted the Palestinian political track and brought it to this difficult stage,” the statement said.
“The Palestinian people are looking forward to an urgent translation of these decisions into actions,” it added.
Hamas also called for an immediate announcement on the formation of a national unity government, the cessation of Israeli-Palestinian security coordination and the release of all political detainees.
End of the PA?
Originally slated to be a five-year interim government, the PA came into being off the back of the 1993 Oslo Accords signed by the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israel.
The Accords, under US sponsorship, included a number of peace agreements of which Abbas was a key negotiating figure.
Abbas has made similar statements of suspending agreements with Israel in the past but not implemented them.
In January last year, the Palestinian Central Council voted to suspend recognition of Israel, but the decision has yet to be acted upon.
Ending the agreements could lead to the demise of the PA.
“It is useless to talk about halting agreements with Israel without talking about the fate of the Palestinian Authority and changing its shape and functions,” said analyst Hani al-Masri.
“The resolution is a repetition of previous resolutions.”