Palestinian President Declares End to All Agreements, Security Coordination With Israel

Mahmoud Abbas said he is setting up a committee to implement the cessation of all agreements with Israel

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Ramallah, West Bank, July 25, 2019.
\ MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/ REUTERS

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared on Thursday a cessation to all agreements with Israel, including the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. 

"After all the violations against our people, we announce the cessation of all agreements signed with Israel," Abbas wrote on twitter. Three hours later, he wrote: "For confirmation: We declare a cessation of all agreements signed with Israel, including security coordination." He has made similar statements in the past and not implemented them.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA confirmed the statement.

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According to the report, Abbas said Israel is not complying with signed agreements, particularly by withholding Palestinian tax revenues. He added that the Trump Administration, which had made sweeping cuts to aid benefiting Palestinians last year, is "providing cover" for Israeli violations against the Palestinian people.

Abbas also addressed the demolition of dozens of homes in Palestinian-controlled neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Monday, saying it "can only be classified as an act of ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity." On Thursday, the United States blocked a UN Security Council proposal seeking condemnation of the demolitions. 

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad both released statements in the Palestinian press and on social media on Friday, in a rare praise of Fatah policymaking.

"The announcement of the President of the Authority Mahmoud Abbas to stop the agreements signed with the Zionist entity is a step in the right direction," a statement posted on the Hamas website read, before calling for further practical steps to be implemented, including the creation of a government of national unity."

Israel is currently withholding 500 million shekels (138 million dollars) of Palestinian tax funds on grounds that the PA transfers the aforementioned sum to Palestinians convicted of terrorism in Israeli courts, their families, and released prisoners. Under the 1994 Paris Protocol, which established a customs union between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel is supposed to collect value-added tax, import duties and other taxes on the PA's behalf and hand them over on a monthly basis. 

More than 160,000 PA employees have gotten only half their salaries in past months. Unemployment in the West Bank has gone up to 31 percent and the tax dispute is likely to drive up the PA’s debt from $400 million to $1 billion, according to a World Bank report issued in April.