The Palestinian president’s decision to “stop all agreements” with Israel is not seen as a permanent decision to totally delink from Israel but as a warning to Tel Aviv, according to Palestinian commentators.
President Mahmoud Abbas made the announcement at a combined meeting of senior Palestinian leaders in light of Israel’s latest demolition of over 70 homes, mostly in areas under Palestinian administrative control.
The Memorandum of Principles agreed on between Israel and the PLO in 1993 divides the occupied territories into areas A and B under Palestinian administrative control, while area C is under Israeli security and administrative control.
The homes demolished in Sur Baher fall within areas A, B and C. Palestinians had warned that if the demolition goes through they would see that as a “unilateral Israeli” violation of the agreement.
Najeeb Qaddoumi, a member of the Palestine National Council and a senior Fatah activist in Jordan, told Arab News that the pronouncement by Abbas was a fulfillment of a decision made by the council.
“President Abbas said at the time that the abrogation of agreements has to be done on a gradual basis, but what happened in Sur Baher and the public anger as a result of it forced the president to take a stand and respond to the Israeli violations of Palestinian-controlled areas,” he said. Analysts contacted by Arab News concede that Abbas’s decision will not be carried out in its fullness.
Diana Butto, former legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team, said: “The Oslo Accords provide many benefits where Palestinians are on the receiving side. Palestinians get passports, travel permits, VIP coordination and water allocation among many other things, the only major issue that benefits the Israelis is the security coordination,” adding it was unlikely that Abbas would allow for an end to security collaboration.
“Occupation has so many layers on Palestinians and it will be impossible to put an immediate end to all these connections that are the direct result of the five decade-long Israeli occupation,” Qaddoumi told Arab News. Abbas said: “Our hands have been and are still extended to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace. But this does not mean that we accept the status quo or surrender to the measures of the occupation.“We will not surrender and we will not coexist with the occupation, nor will we accept the ‘deal of the century.’ Palestine and Jerusalem are not for sale or bargain, they are not a real estate deal in a real estate company.