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PLO ‘Interaction’ Group Denies Reports it has Ceased Operations

The office of the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society has denied recent claims made in other Palestinian circles that it has closed its doors. The committee is “still committed to its role of communicating with Israeli society, as its mission is focused on communication only, and not on negotiations, security coordination or the formation of official ties,” the office told The Media Line. In February, the chairman, Mohammed al-Madani, tendered his resignation following an uproar – mainly on social media but also among top Palestinian figures – over meetings he and the group continued to hold even after the White House unveiled a peace proposal loudly rejected by the Palestinian Authority. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, himself a vociferous opponent of the plan, nevertheless rejected Madani’s resignation, but has since announced an end to all agreements with Israel, including those governing security cooperation, due to plans by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the West Bank. The conflicting claims surrounding the committee’s continued work indicate apparent disagreement as to whether the new PA policy refers just to official cooperation with Israel, or to contacts with any Israelis.