Palestinians Will Work to Avoid Escalation Before Israeli Elections, Sources Say

The Palestinian president is in Cairo to meet his Egyptian counterparts, says Trump's 'deal of the century' is finished and Palestinian issue is in grave crisis

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a ceremony marking the 54th anniversary of Fatah's founding, in Ramallah, December 31, 2018.
REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian leadership won't take any steps that could lead to an escalation with Israel prior to the Israeli elections, according to Palestinian political sources.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in Cairo and met Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi Saturday to discuss the lack of progress in the internal Palestinian reconciliation talks and the general developments in the region, including the expected American peace plan.

Sissi told CBS in an interview scheduled to air Sunday that Egypt's military cooperation with Israel has reached unprecedented levels.

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He said Israel has increased settlement construction as well as arrests and home demolitions in the West Bank while the U.S. decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem has led to a dead end and Hamas is shirking its commitment to all agreements that could end the internal Palestinian divisions.

Abbas added that the only way to end the internal division is by holding democratic elections in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the elected leadership should direct Palestinian policy.

He added that U.S. President Donald Trump's so-called "deal of the century" is finished since there is no basis for any negotiation. He also said that the Palestinian leadership will not surrender even if the Oslo Accords are canceled, which would mean the cancellation of the Palestinian Authority.

In October, the Palestinian Liberation Organization Central Committee voted to suspend the recognition of Israel until the latter decides to recognize a Palestinian state. 

The decision by the top Palestinian committee called to end the Palestinian Authority's security coordination with Israel and to suspend all economic agreements with it.