What’s behind PA Decision to Terminate Agreements with Israel
On July 25, Abbas told the Palestinian public that he had established a committee which would examine the implementation of his decision to terminate all agreements with Israel.
“We announce the leadership’s decision to stop implementing the agreements signed with the Israeli side,” Abbas told the public while later adding that the decision included security cooperation with the Israelis.
Abbas said Israel was responsible for the decision since it had breached the accords it signed with the PA and continued “arresting and killing” Palestinian Arabs.
Israel “demolish their homes, confiscate their land, close the roads with hundreds of checkpoints (sic), build walls undermining the contiguity of the Palestinian territories and impose a racist separation policy – Apartheid,” Abbas fumed.
The announcement came a few days after Israeli security forces acted upon a court order by the Israeli High Court of Justice which okayed the demolition of several buildings near the security fence in the neighborhood of Sur Baher in Jerusalem.
Abbas called the demolition of the mostly empty buildings a “massacre” while claiming Israel bears “full responsibility for this dangerous escalation against the innocent Palestinian people.”
The buildings were illegally built in a zone within 400 meters of the security fence and the owners were aware that Israeli law forbids this.
Pundits were skeptical about the execution of Abbas’ decision to halt all cooperation with Israel since the unpopular aging leader has repeatedly threatened to do this but did not follow-up on the threats.
This time, however, it could be different since Abbas has multiple problems and the continuation of his rule cannot be taken for granted any longer.
One of the major problems the PA leader is facing is a huge budget deficit which has increased significantly after Israel decided to deduct $10 million per month in tax revenues and duties it collects on behalf of the PA.
At the beginning of 2019, the Israeli government took the measure after Abbas refused to terminate the PA’s ‘pay to slay’ policy, the monthly stipends for Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails and their families.
As a result of the Israeli decision, the already dire economic situation in the territories under Abbas’ control further deteriorated with PA employees receiving only half of their monthly income. This in turn, caused a sharp decline in the purchasing power of the Palestinian public.
During the economic workshop in Bahrain at the end of June Arab countries pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Arabs but they have yet to make good on their promises.
The Israeli government perplexed Abbas by not issuing an official reaction to his announcement causing him to talk to Israeli TV media in order to make clear, he means business.
The PA boss also made clear he blames the US government for the current crisis which could end in a new explosion of violence if we are to believe insiders.
“The ‘Deal of the Century’ is an attempt to bring down all the international agreements aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We will not stand idly by in the face of this dangerous plan,” Abbas warned in a reference to Trump’s upcoming peace proposal according to Channel 13 in Israel.
Abbas reportedly increasingly coordinates his moves with Jordanian King Abdullah II and was in Amman shortly before his dramatic announcement on July 25.
According to Arab sources who sent this reporter classified information about the deliberations between the two leaders a strategy was discussed which would undermine Trump’s peace plan and increase the pressure on Israel.
Both Abdullah and Abbas are facing increasing domestic opposition against the way they handle the severe problems in Jordan and the territories under PA control.
To divert attention Abbas and Abdullah reportedly decided to play the el-Aqsa card and are waiting for an opportunity, for example, a visit by an Israeli or American official to the Temple Mount, to stir severe unrest in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
The same sources don’t expect that the unrest will end-up in a Third Intifada but it could be enough to save their regimes and to drive a wedge between the American Israeli alliance and the moderate Arab countries thereby sabotaging Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.
In an attempt to mobilize the Palestinian masses Abbas again called upon Hamas to unite with the PLO in anticipation of the upcoming battle against the ‘Israeli occupation regime’.
Chances Hamas will now do what the Egyptians tried to achieve over the past two years are very slim, however. Hamas has become a part of the Iranian axis and Iran regards Abbas and Abdullah as apostates who are part of the American Israeli alliance against it.
Hamas is interested in an armed uprising in Judea and Samaria and this week called upon the PA to give the Palestinian ‘resistance organizations’ green light to launch fresh attacks against “the occupation crimes”.
“Release the hand of the popular, peaceful and armed struggle in the confrontation with the occupation, as this is the natural response to its crimes,” Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya said in Gaza.
Instead of uniting with the PLO Hamas seeks to use a new uprising to topple the regime of Abbas and to seize control over the territories currently under PA control just like it did in Gaza in 2005.