Palestine to suspend security coordination with Israel

ARCHIVE PHOTO: srael's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) stands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before their meeting in Jerusalem (Reuters / Lior Mizrahi)
Accusing Israel of noncompliance with a number of bilateral agreements, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank have voted to suspend all forms of security coordination with Tel Aviv in a step that could lead to a further escalation of tensions.

In its resolution the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) decided to “suspend all forms of security coordination given Israel’s systematic and ongoing noncompliance with its obligations under signed agreements,” Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted it as saying.

Sharing security information between Palestine and Israel is a mechanism that was implemented under the 1993 Oslo Accords. Israel relies heavily on the information offered by the Palestinians to keep in check the hostile Hamas elements in the region.

While the PCC’s votes are usually binding, the decision will not go into effect until backed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

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The Council however said that it has now taken “full responsibility” for the Palestinian people in the “occupied state.” In light of this, the senior decision-making body also decided to boycott all Israeli products but most importantly also rejected “attempts to recognize Israel as a Jewish State” – a key Israeli precondition in the peace settlement negotiations.

Palestinian officials blamed Tel Aviv for “daily military raids throughout the state of Palestine,” while calling for Israel to assume “all its responsibilities in accordance with its obligations under international law.”

The council also declared its backing for Palestinian diplomatic initiatives at the International Criminal Court, and urged the intentional community to hold Israel accountable for “systematic violations of international law.”

In coordination with the Arab League, Palestine will request that the UN Security Council to set a date for Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied territories and to honor UN Resolution 194, which protects the rights of refugees wishing to return to their homes.

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The Palestinian Executive Committee will now be tasked with executing all decisions made by the central council, including devising the time-frame for the halting of the security coordination with Israel.

The decision to change this security coordination with Israel, follows a long thorny route of failed efforts to bring peace and negotiate a two-state solution. In the last couple of months, Israeli-Palestinian relations have deteriorated even further.

In December, the UN Security Council voted down a resolution calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank within the space of two years. The Palestinians then warned that they would take legal action at the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, Netherlands, after the nation moved to join the international authority formally in January. In response, Israel has frozen $127 million in monthly tax revenues due the Palestinians.

Palestine seeks to hold Israel accountable for the 50-day war in Gaza last summer that followed the collapse of US-brokered talks after nine months of fruitless meetings. It also plans to sue Israel over its policy of settlement building on land occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. Under international law, all Israeli construction on land seized during the war is considered illegal.