Palestinians Make Good on Threat to End Security Cooperation with Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly made good on his vow to end all civil and security cooperation with Israel state over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s vow to press ahead with annexing about 30% of the West Bank in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Many observers had been skeptical about the PA president’s intent to follow through on threats concerning security ties, in particular, which are viewed as mutually beneficial. Israeli defense officials warned that the development could lead to an uptick in violence in the West Bank and could give the Gaza Strip-based Hamas terrorist group an opportunity to make further inroads in PA-controlled territories. Explaining the decision, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that “Israel’s annexation of any parts of the West Bank constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinian national project and an end to the two-state solution.” He charged that Jerusalem had “breached international law and violated all the agreements signed with us.” With respect to the US, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday revealed that the PA had stopped sharing information with the Central Intelligence Agency. Abbas imposed a blanket boycott on the Trump Administration in the wake of the US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, although various channels with Washington have remained open.