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Is Palestine-Israel security coordination coming to an end?

November 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) during the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on 30 September, 2016 [Amos Ben Gershom/Reuters]

The Central Council of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), which is chaired by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas, announced on 30 October its decision to end all of its commitments towards Israel, including all kinds of security coordination and economic ties.

Commenting on this decision, Yair Lapid, the chairman of the Israeli Party Yesh Atid, said: “The decisions of the PLO are funny. Can Abbas deny recognising the sun – security coordination?” The Israeli Broadcasting Committee KAN reported Lapid adding: “For us, we will not recognise them [the PLO and PA]. We will continue building a strong and safe country.”

This decision has been made by the PLO Central Council several times in the past, but PLO and PA President Mahmoud Abbas has never adopted it because he himself knows very well that he and all the other political bodies he presides over would never survive if security coordination ceased. “We walk under the shoes of the Israeli occupation,” he once said in relation to the control the PA is subjected to.

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According to Hebrew newspaper Maariv, the chairman of Kulanu Party and former finance minister Moshe Kahlon reiterated this fact, saying: “The PA is starving Gaza and put pressure on it, pushing it to start a war with Israel. Without security coordination, the PA cannot survive even for a single day.”

Security coordination is continuous in the parts of the occupied West Bank that are controlled by Abbas. Just a couple of hours after the decision to end the security coordination, the PA security services had evacuated parts of the occupied West Bank, including the PA stronghold Ramallah, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said in a statement, before Israeli occupation forces carried out raids and detention campaigns against Palestinians.

After the Central Council’s decision was announced, the Israeli news website Ynet News said that security coordination is targeting Hamas. However at the same time, Abbas continues to allow Qatar’s financial aid to reach Palestinian civil servants in the besieged Gaza Strip which is governed by Hamas.

Just days before the Central Council’s meeting was held, the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) and the Central Bank of Israel reached an agreement on a new mechanism to facilitate currency transactions between Palestinian and Israeli banks. There is no question that the PA will not cancel such an agreement, especially when banking services in the Palestinian territories are carried out only through two Israeli banks – Israel Discount Bank and Bank Hapoalim, as the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations stipulates.

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Commenting on this, Palestinian economic expert Mohammad Abu-Jayyab said none of the official Palestinian institutions can survive without the “oppressive” economic coordination with the Israeli occupation.

Security coordination is an actual pledge made in the Oslo Accords. Whatever criticism it faces will come of nothing as Abbas insists on maintaining it to preserve his position.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.