Cutting security ties, Abbas shows he’s serious — even if it risks everything

T. Belman. Some people worry that the PA would seize on the opportunity to get a state on 70% of the land.  obviously the PA has chosen to be obstructionist as they always do.  My guess is that Israel won’t retailiate and will proceed with the “annexation”.  Once the law is passed extending Israeli law to the settlements and the Jordan Valley, the PA will have a choice to make, either reinstate the security cooperation or hunker down because without the security cooperation there is no right to negotiate.

Ending coordination will hurt and endanger both Israel and the PA, but faced with Israeli “annexation”, the Palestinians are increasingly willing to employ desperate measures


Palestinian policemen participate in a training session at their headquarters in the West Bank city of Hebron on January 30, 2019. (HAZEM BADER / AFP)
Palestinian policemen participate in a training session at their headquarters in the West Bank city of Hebron on January 30, 2019. (HAZEM BADER / AFP)

Israelis, particularly Israeli politicians, tend to be dismissive of grandiose pronouncements made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And perhaps they are justified.

In response to Israeli actions he has deemed hostile, Abbas has more than once threatened to dismantle the PA, cut off security coordination with Israel and tear up international agreements such as the Oslo Accords. He’s never followed through before. But this time appears to be different.

This time, Abbas has moved to back up his words. After announcing earlier this week that the PA was no longer bound by agreements with Israel as a result of its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Abbas has taken action to really and truly halt security coordination with Jerusalem. Israeli sources in the past 24 hours have confirmed that the PA has stopped all facets of coordination.

This is a dramatic move.

To many, “ending security coordination” may sound like a meaningless slogan. But a step like this can have serious ramifications for both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

For the Palestinians, their preventative security forces rely to a large degree on this coordination.

Israel has on a number of occasions passed information to the Palestinian forces on plans by Hamas or some other group to take action against the PA, or even to harm its leader.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas heads a leadership meeting at his headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 19, 2020. (Alaa Badarneh/Pool via AP)

The PA also needs coordination with Israel in order to ensure freedom of movement for senior officials and forces. Any movement between the West Bank’s Area A (under PA control) to Area B (under Israeli security control), or even from Area A to another part of Area A (such as from Ramallah to Nablus), requires full coordination with Israeli authorities and movement through areas under Israeli control. The PA needs Israeli permission to move weapons or military vehicles around. Without this coordination, the PA security forces will be weakened, and opposition forces in the West Bank will gain strength.

For Israel, the matter is also far from being insignificant.

PA security forces have been extensively involved in thwarting terror attacks in recent years, and are generally credited with stopping about one-third to one-quarter of attempted attacks. They have also repeatedly helped Israelis who’ve wound up in PA-controlled areas, and have on numerous occasions ensured that soldiers who mistakenly entered PA areas were extracted harmlessly.

What will happen the next time a soldier makes a wrong turn and there is no such coordination? And what will happen if Israeli forces need to enter PA areas to carry out an arrest raid and are met with resistance from the preventative security forces?

Confusion of this type has occurred in the past, but it’s only in the last 24 hours that Palestinian police have suddenly been surprised with actual orders to stop certain Israeli activities in Area A.

A video shared by the PA-ruling Fatah movement on social media Thursday claimed to show Palestinian security forces preventing Israeli soldiers from entering a part of Hebron.

Palestinian policemen participate in a training session at their headquarters in the West Bank city of Hebron on January 30, 2019. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

Under the new conditions, an armed showdown between Palestinian forces and Israeli troops could be just around the corner, and could easily turn into a pitched battle with casualties.

So why did Abbas put his money where his mouth is this time? It seems that, faced with unprecedented steps by Washington and Jerusalem to cement Israeli rule in the West Bank, the Palestinian leadership has finally had enough.

Ignored and humiliated repeatedly in recent years by both Israel and the US, PA leaders are now flexing their muscles, wishing to demonstrate they are willing to gamble everything, even to cause real harm to themselves, to prove they will not capitulate to American and Israeli pressure.

Encouraged by the words of Jordans’s King Abdullah, who last week warned of “massive conflict” and a possible end to peace should annexation move forward, Palestinian officials are now openly speaking of further desperate measures: even a willingness to collapse and disintegrate their very structures of power in the West Bank if annexation moves forward.

May 22, 2020 | 5 Comments » | 394 views

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. The inconvenience is worth the result. The Israeli’s will be able to take control of the land permanently and will not have to wait the 4 years that are envisioned in the Prosperity to Peace document. Financially incentivized emigration can begin. Plans to dismantle Gaza and export the population to Turkey can begin. Israel will become the Israel it could have become in June 1967.

  2. No agreements, the IDF should just grab what territory they need for security. If violence starts or if the PA Security forces start a conflict, they should be disarmed and the PA disbanded.

    Abbas and his cronies sent back to Tunisia.

  3. Technically (formally), by unilaterally choosing to apply sovereignty or annexation, whichever way one wants to describe it, to the territories previously considered to be subject to negotiations, Israel reneged on the previous agreements so now all bets are off.
    For comparison, imagine the PA suddenly voting to establish the “Palestinian” state in the Judea and Samaria on the 1st of July and announcing this to the whole world on the grounds that a Pan-Arab Plan let them do it and it’s their land anyway.
    Usually, when Israel starts making loud pronouncements, it’s because it wants to be stopped from doing the things it is announcing, e.g., settlement construction (a loud announcement usually followed by a freeze).
    In this case the blowback includes a real response from the PA instead of just a “verbal condemnation by the community of nations” followed by “See, “they” won’t let us do it!”
    I don’t want to even start describing how this situation may deteriorate – just use your imagination.
    As they say, “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” And the worst in this case may mean the destruction of the state (God forbid).
    How can this be that decisions of this import are made by simple voting or squabbling between the Knesset parties?

  4. As of now there are back channels for security coordination and the PA Security is trying to keep lid on violence. So maybe this was another bluff by Abbas.

    We will see.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.