After Abbas says cutting Israel relations, official states security ties intact

After Abbas says cutting Israel relations, official states security ties intact

Palestinian official adds, however, that ‘there will be major consequences’ if Israel annexes parts of the West Bank; adds that relations between two sides are ‘extremely tense’.

The Palestinian Authority has not halted security coordination with Israel, but ties between the two sides are tense, a senior Palestinian official said on Sunday.

The official made the comment a day after PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to the Arab League in Cairo that the Palestinians had informed Israel and the US that there “will be no relations with you…including security relations.”

Abbas said he was severing ties in the wake of the Trump administration’s peace proposal, which he rejected with the unanimous endorsement of the Arab League countries.

“Until now, the coordination is ongoing, but relations are extremely tense,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel on Sunday.

The Palestinians have expressed frustration and anger since US President Donald Trump last Tuesday launched his administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which heavily favors the Israeli government’s positions.

Breaking with past US administrations, the plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in about 70 percent of the West Bank, a small handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, most of the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, and fulfill other conditions.

The plan also allows Israel to annex settlements, grants the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and overriding security control west of the Jordan River, and bars Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel.

The official suggested that the PA would indeed seriously consider ending its security and other ties with Israel, if the latter annexes parts of the West Bank.

“There will be major consequences,” if Israel annexes areas in the West Bank, the official stated. “The entire equation will change.”

Immediately after Trump announced the plan, Netanyahu said that he intended to bring a proposal to annex parts of the West Bank to a vote on Sunday, but that ultimately did not happen.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin later said there were still several bureaucratic hurdles to leap, including “bringing the proposal before the attorney general and letting him consider the matter.”

Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, weighed in on Wednesday and indicated that the US did not want Israel to annex territory in the West Bank in the near future.

“The hope is that they’ll wait until after the [March 2] election, and we’ll work with them to try to come up with something,” he told GZERO Media.

Asked flatly whether the Trump administration would support an immediate decision by Israel to annex the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements, Kushner answered: “No” and elaborated that “we would need an Israeli government in place” before moving forward.

Abbas has threatened on multiple occasions to cut security ties with Israel without following through. In July 2017, he declared that security coordination with Israel was suspended over a dispute related to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

It was resumed in October 2017, though PA police chief Hazem Atallah said that even during the suspension, the Palestinians had maintained regular contact, with 95% of the activities continuing.

“The only thing we stopped is we didn’t meet them in the field,” Atallah said on the sidelines of a press conference in November 2017.

Israeli officials have said security coordination with the PA has contributed significantly to stability in the West Bank and Israel.