The Palestinian Authority (PA) will resume coordination with Israel that it suspended in May in response to an Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, a senior Palestinian official has said.
Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA’s civil affairs minister and close aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, tweeted on Tuesday that “the relationship with Israel will return to how it was” following “official written and oral letters we received” confirming Israel’s commitment to past agreements.
Abbas announced in May that the Palestinians would no longer be bound by any past agreements signed with Israel and suspend all coordination with it, including cooperation on security matters.
In light of the calls made by President #Abbas regarding Israel's commitment to the bilateral signed agreements,& based on the official written and oral letters we received,confirming Israel's commitment to them.Accordingly, the relationship with #Israel will return to how it was https://t.co/mLxTNtiZR9
— حسين الشيخ Hussein Al Sheikh (@HusseinSheikhpl) November 17, 2020
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said the decision puts in jeopardy some of the PA’s efforts towards reconciliation with other Palestinian factions.
“[Palestinian group] Hamas and others have criticised this move, saying that it is going back to cooperating with [an] occupying power,” Fawcett said. “The talk of possible reconciliation, possible elections on the Palestinian side now appears less likely.”
The move came as Israel was preparing to annex up to a third of the West Bank, including all of its far-flung illegal settlements, as part of a plan unveiled earlier this year by United States President Donald Trump, one of the many controversial policies of his administrations that favour Israel.
Palestinians said the annexation plan would make a two-state solution impossible. Interim peace accords signed in the 1990s envisaged the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Annexation was put on hold in August when the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalise relations with Israel, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the pause was only temporary.
Bahrain and Sudan followed suit, also breaking with a long-standing pan-Arab position, which had demanded Israeli withdrawal from already illegally occupied territory and the acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
The Palestinians have denounced these agreements as a “stab in the back” and a betrayal of their cause.
Earlier this month, Trump lost re-election after being beaten by his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, who is set to take office on January 21.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister had a “warm conversation” with the US president-elect, in a delayed and clear acknowledgement of Biden’s election victory over Trump, a close leader of the Israeli leader. Two weeks after election day, Trump has yet to concede defeat, repeating unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.