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17 Nov, 2020 21:03

Palestinian Authority to restore cooperation with Israel after President Abbas cut ties six months ago

Palestinian Authority to restore cooperation with Israel after President Abbas cut ties six months ago

The Palestinian Authority (PA) will resume security and civil coordination with Israel, a Palestinian minister has said, six months after President Mahmoud Abbas withdrew from all agreements, due to Israel’s annexation plans.

“The course of the relationship with Israel will return to what it was,” PA civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh said on Tuesday.

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He said the move came “in light of” Abbas’ recent “contacts” regarding Israel’s “commitment to the agreements signed with us, and based on the official written and oral letters we received.”

In May, Abbas severed ties with Israel in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The annexation plan was put on hold after the UAE became the first Arab nation to normalize relations with Israel in August, in a deal brokered by the US.

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The resumption of Israeli-Palestinian ties may pave the way for Israel to pay three billion shekels ($890 million) in import taxes that it has withheld from the PA. The loss of revenue had forced the PA to cut some salaries of public servants amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The pandemic is part of the reason for renewed relations with Israel, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said, as cited by Reuters.

A coordinated response is needed, he added, to help curb the spread of the virus among Israeli settlers in the West Bank and among Palestinian cross-border workers. 

The renewed ties risk derailing reconciliation talks between Abbas’ political party Fatah and militant organization Hamas, which resumed in Cairo this week.

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