Palestinian President Abbas Declares End to Agreements With Israel, U.S.

The move comes in response to the possible West Bank annexation promised by the Netanyahu government, which was also condemned by U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds up a Vision for Peace map while speaking at the UN Security Council in New York, February 11, 2020.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds up a Vision for Peace map while speaking at the UN Security Council in New York, February 11, 2020. Credit: AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority will end all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the United States, including security agreements, in light of Israel's intent to annex parts of the West Bank.

Abbas made the announcement at a Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah.

Haaretz talks Bibi's 5th term, annexation, Iran and China

However, Palestinian sources told Haaretz that coordination with Israel continues. A Palestinian official who attended the meeting said the president intends to stop coordination, but had not yet "closed the door." He said the security forces may lower the level of engagement with their counterparts in Israel, but it is not yet possible to determine that coordination will be completely stopped.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he "Regrets Abbas's statement and hopes security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians will continue," and added that "The Palestinians have continued to refuse to just simply sit down and enter into a negotiation based on President Trump's vision for peace."

A Palestinian security official said that despite Abbas' statements, every move taken by the PA requires coordination with Israel. Among other things, the source added that in the event that the authority requests assistance from another country, they will have to do so in coordination with Israel. According to the source, Abbas stated that the authority is committed to combating terrorism, as defined, which requires continued security coordination between the states.

The Palestinian government announced Tuesday evening that it will increase coronavirus restrictions during Eid al-Fitr, which will take place next week. Thus, if the agreements with Israel were null and void for Palestinians, this responsibility will be transferred to Israel.

Abbas announced the cancellation of the agreements with Israel as early as February, in light of the presentation of U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East plan, which included the possibility of annexation. Despite the declaration, the agreements were not effectively canceled.

Another objection to annexation was voiced Tuesday by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to be the Democratic presidential candidate in the upcoming election. "I do not support annexation," Biden said at a virtual gathering of Jewish Democrats, as published on the Jewish Insider website. Biden explained that unilateral measures would hurt the prospect of a two-state solution.

Abbas also said Tuesday he was ready to negotiate and committed to ending the conflict with Israel on the basis of a two-state solution. He also stated that he was ready for a third party to oversee the border between the two countries.

Earlier on Tuesday, Germany and the Palestinian Authority released a joint statement expressing "grave concern" over Israel's declared intention to begin annexing parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

Annexing parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley as part of Trump's "deal of the century" was a central promise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's latest election campaign. Former political rivals turned allies Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi have also expressed their support for the administration's plan.

The statement, which follows similar warnings from other European countries and the European Union, was released after a virtual meeting chaired by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas took place.

On Monday, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell reiterated it would not "recognize any changes to the 1967 borders unless agreed by Israelis and Palestinians."

Israel's Foreign Ministry blasted the EU for practicing "megaphone diplomacy" on after Borrell's statement.

It was "regrettable that once again, the security of Israel, a key partner of the EU, and the threats that Israel face, were not mentioned at all and were not given the centrality that they should be [sic] in such a message," said the Israeli Foreign Ministry statement.

"This 'megaphone diplomacy' is not a substitute for intimate diplomatic dialogue and will not advance the role the EU is seeking to fulfill," it said.

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