Palestinians restore ties with Israel
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday said it has decided to renew its relations with Israel, including security coordination, after receiving assurances that Israel would abide by the signed agreements with the Palestinians.
The announcement was made by Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the PA General Authority for Civil Affairs, who is in charge of coordination between the Palestinians and Israel.
Senior Israeli officials confirmed that security coordination with the PA was being restored.
The decision is likely to hinder efforts to end the dispute between the ruling Palestinian Fatah faction and Hamas, which has long opposed security coordination between the PA and Israel, dubbing it an act of treason.
The decision to restore the ties came in light of contacts made by PA President Mahmoud Abbas “regarding Israel’s commitment to the bilateral and signed agreements,” Sheikh said.
“Based on the official written and verbal letters we received, confirming Israel’s commitment, the relationship with Israel will be restored,” he said.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Palestinians have received a written document in which Israel pledges to abide by all the agreements with the Palestinians. He did not provide further details.
Shtayyeh expressed hope that the new US administration under Joe Biden would support the two-state solution on the basis of “land for peace.”
Sheikh and Shtayyeh did not specifically mention the security coordination with Israel.
A senior PA official in Ramallah, however, told The Jerusalem Post the decision includes the resumption of security coordination between the two sides.
The decision was taken after the Palestinians received “assurances from several European Union officials that Israel won’t take any unilateral move in the near future” and remains committed to all the signed agreements, the official said.
The official was referring to Israel’s since-shelved plan to apply sovereignty to portions of the West Bank.
According to the official, the Palestinians also have agreed to receive the tax revenues that Israel collects on their behalf. In the past six months, the Palestinians have refused to accept the tax revenues due to Israel’s decision to deduct the sum of stipends paid by the PA to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed during terrorist attacks on Israelis.
In May, Abbas announced that the PA was “absolved” of all security agreements and understandings with Israel. His announcement came in response to the Israeli “annexation” plan and in protest of the policies and decisions of US President Donald Trump toward the Palestinians.
The decision to restore ties with Israel was aimed at paving the way for resuming contacts between the Palestinians and the new Biden administration, another PA official told the Post.
“We have received many positive messages from the Biden team in the past few days,” the official said. “We are looking forward to opening a new page with the Biden administration after the damage caused by the Trump administration.”
Earlier in the day, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun wrote a letter to Sheikh, in which he stated the following.
“Israel has previously stated that the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian agreements continue to form the applicable legal framework governing the conduct of the parties. On financial and other matters.
“Therefore, in accordance with these agreements Israel continues to collect taxes for the Palestinian Authority. Unfortunately it was the Palestinian Authority which decided not to receive those collected funds from Israel.”