From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Palestinian President Abbas Declares End to Agreements with Israel, US
Date May 24, 2020 12:00 AM
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[Faced with the looming threat of Israeli annexation, on Tuesday
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared an end to all Palestinian
agreements with Israel and the US. Analysts, however, are skeptical
Abbas will follow through on his pledge. ] [[link removed]]

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Yumna Patel
May 20, 2020
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_ Faced with the looming threat of Israeli annexation, on Tuesday
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared an end to all Palestinian
agreements with Israel and the US. Analysts, however, are skeptical
Abbas will follow through on his pledge. _

On May 19, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the Trump
Administration as “fully responsible for the oppression befalling
the Palestinian people.” , Alaa Badarneh/EPA


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared late Tuesday night an end
to “all agreements and understandings” with Israel and the United
States, and that his government would be “handing over
responsibility of the occupied territories back to Israel.”

In an emergency meeting with Palestinian leadership, Abbas said:
“the Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine
are absolved, as of today of all the agreements and understandings
with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations
based on these understandings and agreements, including the security

He went on to say that as an occupying power, Israel should
“shoulder all the responsibilities and obligations” of 
“protecting the civilian population and their property” in
accordance with international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva

Abbas said his decision was made in response to Israeli and U.S.
efforts to move forward with annexation, which the newly formed
Israeli government has said can happen as early as July. By moving
forward with annexation plans, he said, Israel has “annulled the
Oslo agreement.”

While Abbas’ statements have made the front page of Israeli,
Palestinian, and international news websites, one major question
remains: will this time be any different?

Security coordination

Tuesday’s declaration comes after years of empty threats by the
leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end agreements with Israel
in protest of its policies in the occupied territories. 

Just last year, Abbas claimed he ended security coordination with
Israel over its demolition campaign in Sur Bahir, though no changes to
the controversial policy were made in reality following his

Security coordination with Israel has been a point of contention
within Palestinian society for years, mostly due to the role the
policy plays in Israel arrest raids inside PA-controlled territory in
the West Bank.

But security coordination affects much more than Israeli arrest raids.
Even the most mundane things, like movement of Palestinian officials e
between Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank must be coordinated
in advance with local authorities. 

For example, when Abbas wants to leave his presidential palace in
Ramallah to meet foreign diplomats in Bethlehem, his security must
coordinate his passage with Israeli authorities in order to travel
smoothly through a number of Israeli military checkpoints along the

The end of the Palestinian Authority?

Another major question surrounds the status of the Oslo Accords. If,
in Abbas’ words, the Oslo agreement has been nullified, in reality,
it would mean dissolving the Palestinian Authority and all its
institutions, which were born out of the accords. 

The likelihood of the PA to willingly break down its government,
forfeit its power, and lay off the thousands of people who rely on
government jobs, is next to impossible. 

“The reaction has largely been the same, whether on the Palestinian
street or in diplomatic circles,” Dawoud Yousef, a political analyst
formerly based in Ramallah told _Mondoweiss._ “It’s largely a
collective sigh.”

“Not even the most diehard Abbas loyalists can think that this
declaration has any consequence 17 years into a 5 year agreement,”
Yousef said, referring to the Oslo Accords, which were meant to serve
as an interim agreement pending a final solution to the conflict. 

At the end of the day, the PA is more concerned with “the
maintenance of control than any liberatory pursuit,” Yousef said,
adding that “if the suffering and destruction of your own people
isn’t enough to end your subservience to the occupier, I am not sure
what is.”

Abbas’ words are not only meaningless to most Palestinians and
diplomats, Yousef noted, but to Israel as well. When asked if he
believe Abbas’ declaration would have any effect on Israel’s
annexation plans, Yousef said “Israel has never bent to Palestinian
political pressure.”

“One thing should be clear at this juncture: the diplomatic path,
which has been the cornerstone of Abbas’ vision and legacy, has been
a spectacular failure,” Yousef continued. “How is one to pursue a
diplomatic path with an entity whose core strategic goal is the
negation of your existence?”

“If the PA really cared about liberation instead of its own
privilege, it would have dissolved itself under Arafat. Realistically,
one cannot end an agreement that has already expired or been
disregarded by one of the parties.”

[_Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss._]

_For the Palestinian News & Information Agency's (WAFA) unofficial
translation of President Abbas' May 19 speech read President Abbas
declares end to agreements with Israel, US; turns over responsibility
on occupied lands to Israel
[[link removed]]._

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