Palestinian President Abbas says accords with Israel, US are void

The practical implications of Abbas' announcement, made across national television, remain unclear.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking during a leadership meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Abbas says all deals with Israel and the US are now void [Alaa Badarneh/Pool via Reuters] [Daylife]
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking during a leadership meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Abbas says all deals with Israel and the US are now void [Alaa Badarneh/Pool via Reuters] [Daylife]

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday that his administration considers all agreements signed with Israel and the United States null and void, after Israel declared it would annex parts of the occupied West Bank, according to local media reports. 

    Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Abbas made the announcement during an emergency meeting held in Ramallah to discuss the Israeli plans.

    More:

    "The Palestine Liberation Organization 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 obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones," Abbas reportedly said.

    "The Israeli occupation authority, as of today, has to shoulder all responsibilities and obligations in front of the international community as an occupying power over the territory of the occupied state of Palestine."

    Abbas threatened to withdraw from agreements back in February, after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East plan, which included the possibility of annexation. 

    Al Jazeera correspondent Nida Ibrahim said the implications of the move remained unclear. 

    "While he said that the PLO is no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel, he did not say that he is dissolving the Palestinian Authority," Ibrahim said from Ramallah. 

    During his address, which was broadcast on Palestinian television, Abbas also said he was still ready to negotiate with Israel and remains committed to ending the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution. 

    Scepticism

    Speaking from Chicago, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada was sceptical about Abbas' announcement.

    "Mahmoud Abbas has announced I can't remember how many times that he's suspended this agreement or that agreement and the fact is that he's never (actually) done that. He's never (actually) suspended an agreement," he said. "The reality is that the Palestinian Authority cannot move a salt shaker from one side of the table to another without the permission and help of the Israelis." 

    Annexing parts of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley as part of Trump's Middle East plan was a central promise of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's latest re-election campaign. His former political rivals-turned-allies Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi have also expressed their support of the plan.

    Netanyahu was sworn into office for another term on Sunday, after more than 500 days without a stable government and three inconclusive elections. 

    Addressing the parliament before the vote, Netanyahu said his incoming government should apply Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements, which are illegal under international law.

    "It's time to apply the Israeli law and write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism," Netanyahu said on the issue of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

    "These territories are where the Jewish nation was born and grew," he said of the settlements.

    Such a move will likely cause international uproar and inflame tensions in the West Bank. 

    Jordan's King Abdullah II, warned Israel of a "massive conflict" if it went ahead with the plan, while the European Union's foreign policy chief said EU would use "all our diplomatic capacities" to try to dissuade the new government from going ahead with the move.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News