Palestinian Authority Suspends All Agreements with Israel
“The demolition is a flagrant violation of those agreements and is null and void.”
The Palestinian Authority (P.A.) president, Mahmoud Abbas, told P.A. officials and other Palestinian leaders during a meeting last Thursday, that the P.A. will stop abiding by past peace agreements with Israel. The P.A.’s unilateral decision came in the wake of Israeli demolition of dozens of residential homes of Palestinians in the internationally recognized occupied east Jerusalem.
“We will not surrender to dictates, and we cannot coexist with the occupation. What Israel did would indicate that Israel is repudiating its obligations, contained in signed agreements. The demolition is a flagrant violation of those agreements and is null and void,” said Abbas this past Thursday, during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The outraged veteran Palestinian leader, who was the architect of the Oslo peace accords, did not specify which agreements would be halted. “A special committee will be assigned with working out our decision,” Abbas added.
Over the past few years, the P.A. president has hinted at suspending such agreements, yet he never actually committed to doing so until now. In 2017 the P.A. suspended security coordination with Israel over the installation of Israeli surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest places for Muslims. The mosque is the Temple Mount to the Israelis, also a holy shrine.
In February of this year, P.A.-Israel relations were severed after Israel deducted $10 million USD from a total monthly sum of $180 million USD in tax money that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
The P.A. rejected the deduction, calling it a theft, while Israel contended that they deducted the money because it goes to families of Palestinian terrorists who have been either killed by Israel during the conflict or are in prison for terrorist attacks against Israelis.
The latest Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem took place in the Sur Baher neighborhood, where the P.A. has jurisdiction over A areas that past agreements designate as PA-run areas.
Israeli interior security minister, Gilad Erdan, said that the demolition was necessary because the homes were very close to Israel’s long-time security barrier. Erdan said that under the Oslo agreement, any action that could pose a security threat should be stopped. The security barrier was established in the early 2000s, and building near the fence is disallowed.
The demolition drew widespread international and regional condemnation, including from the U.N., the European Union, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This weekend, the United States stopped a U.N. Security Council’s draft resolution that condemned the demolition.
In 1993 both the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel signed the Oslo declaration of principles, which laid the foundations for peace between the two sides. The accords enabled the Palestinian Authority to maintain autonomy in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The autonomy was to end five years after the signing to allow for more final status talks.
However, violence erupted in the region in late September 2000, after the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Temple Mount) of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians interpreted as a hostile move. Israeli soldiers dispersed the rock-throwing crowd. Since then, Israel has largely expanded Israeli settlements in the West Bank.