At the end of its 31st meeting held in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Central Council (PCC), the second-highest decision-making body in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), announced suspending its recognition of Israel.
The PCC said that this decision will continue, effective until Israel meets two main Palestinian demands –recognises the sovereign State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and halts its illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.
In the final statement of its meeting, which was concluded on Thursday, the PCC decided that the presence of the Israeli occupation, its army and its settlers on the land of the State of Palestine is illegal and that it should be ended immediately.
Meanwhile, the PCC decided the suspension of all forms of security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s security agencies and the Israel occupation's military institutions, which led to the killing and detention of hundreds of anti-occupation Palestinian fighters since the creation of the PA in 1993.
For years, the PCC and its leadership have been repeating the same declaration of suspending the recognition of the State of Israel and halting the security cooperation with its military and intelligence agencies. However, on the ground, nothing happens and the PA and Israeli security and intelligence agencies adopt the revolving door policy in their hunt behind the Palestinian fighters. Is there anything new this time?
Yes, there are many things new today! The Israeli occupation has become more violent towards the Palestinians in the occupied territories and also in Israel. Its war on Palestinian property, including homes, farms and shops has turned fiercer and its settlement expansion that swallows the Palestinian lands is running fast.
However, all of this is happening while the PA and PCC are either sleeping or helping Israel to carry out the afore-mentioned missions. So, why did the PCC repeat its former declaration of suspending recognition of Israel and halting the security cooperation? Simple – because it is lying, and all the Palestinians and the Israelis know this very well.
Then, the PA, the PCC and all the PLO institutions do not dare withdraw their recognition of Israel because they are being paid for this recognition. I am asking the leaders of these institutions: Where do their salaries come from? Israel, period. If they are ready to leave their castles and villas and adopt resistance against Israel, it is possible to trust them and believe they are seriously thinking of withdrawing the recognition of Israel. But as long as they are being paid by Israel, they do not dare to act against its will.
Another thing: what does the PCC's withdrawal of its recognition of Israel mean? Nothing. When the late PLO and PA leader, Yasser Arafat, recognised Israel, that was a decorative measure in return for a delusional Israeli recognition of the PLO, and the price was that Israel, which disarmed the PLO and its factions, guaranteed de-legitimising all other Palestinian bodies holding arms against it and had official Palestinian support and the green light to fight them.
For the Palestinians, the explicit and implicit daily arrangements between the PA and Israel proves that the PA is recognising and fully surrendering to Israel, maintaining no sovereignty over the Palestinian territories within the 1967 borders. If the PA is trying to hide this, Israel is not, as it is keeping its occupation of the occupied Palestinian lands and expanding its settlements.
If one said that the PA is against this, as it keeps condemning it and calling on the world to stop it, I am saying that if the PA's stance regarding the Israeli measures were true, it would have stopped condemning and screaming, and adopted more deterrent policies and strategies or, at least, it should have stopped its security cooperation with Israel in order to let the Palestinian resistance stop Israeli aggression.
Regarding the security cooperation, when the Israeli occupation government takes any decision related to the PA-controlled areas within the 1967 borders, it does not seek permission from the PA to implement it, whether it is related to security action, military operation or settlement expansion.
The Israeli occupation military obtains intelligence information from the PA intelligence services. Then, the PA officers leaves the areas where a would-be Israeli operation is planned and the Israeli occupation forces carry out their operation and return to their bases safely, while the PA is monitoring and watching over very carefully in order to stop any Palestinian fighter who might think of obstructing the job of the Israeli occupation.
In the morning, the PA security officers deploy normally in the operation area and work to hide the Israeli crimes. Then, the PA and PCC leadership go on air to condemn the Israeli aggression on the Palestinians and vow to take revenge for the Palestinian victims.
Speaking to several Israeli writers and analysts, including Gideon Levy from Haaretz and Meron Rapoport from the Local Call and others, all of them stressed that the PA is unwilling to halt the security cooperation with Israel; however, it knows very well that this cooperation is in the interest of Israel.
Why does the PCC take such very big but hollow decisions? It has been known that when the PA, PLO and Fatah leadership led by Mahmoud Abbas want to take dramatic decisions that reinforce his authoritarianism – which is in line with the Israeli interests – they hold the PCC during critical times and take such decisions in order to give a kind of legitimacy to its meetings and its decisions.
Many Palestinian activists, writers and analysts are unanimous that Abbas was ordered by Israel to hold this PCC meeting, in order to arrange for the time following his possible absence in the near future as he is very old and very sick. Israel does not want any vacuum or dispute in the Palestinian political arena following the sudden death of Abbas.
In order not to be shocked with unexpected dramatic differences, Abbas chose his very close and loyal aides, who are also very close and loyal to Israel, to attend the meetings and distributed the positions of the Palestinian National Council, PCC and PLO among them. A section of Palestinians had distrusted the PCC in the past but, this time, all the Palestinians, including senior PNC and PCC members are distrusting it.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.