Abbas Claims Palestinians ‘Absolved’ of Agreements with Israel over Annexation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, speaks after laying a wreath at the tomb of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, inside the Mukataa government compound, in the the West Bank city of Ramallah as Palestinians commemorate the 14th anniversary of his death, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi

TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said the PA was “absolved” of all agreements with Israel and the United States, including security arrangements, over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to annex Jewish West Bank settlements.

Israel, as the “occupying power,” would have full responsibility over the West Bank, Abbas told Palestinian leaders in Ramallah.

“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” Abbas said according to remarks carried by the PA’s official Wafa news agency.

Ramallah and Jerusalem cooperate on a range of civilian and security matters. If Abbas were to carry out his threat and dissolve the PA, tens of thousands of public workers would be unemployed.

Abbas’ remarks came in response to Israel’s proposed annexation of swaths of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, in accordance with the parameters delineated in President Donald Trump’s “vision for peace” in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to the coalition deal between Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz, annexation could be brought to a vote in the Knesset as early as July 1.

Trump‘s plan would also see a demilitarized Palestinian state established on most of the West Bank with parts of eastern Jerusalem that are outside the Israeli security fence as its capital. The Palestinians would also receive an economic package to the tune of $50 billion if they agreed to the terms of the deal which include stopping incitement to terror and ending their so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme paying financial stipends to convicted terrorists and their families.

“The Israeli occupation authority, as of today, has to shoulder all responsibilities and obligations in front of the international community as an occupying power over the territory of the occupied state of Palestine, with all its consequences and repercussions based on international law and international humanitarian law,” Abbas said.

“We hold the American administration fully responsible for the oppression befalling the Palestinian people and we consider it a primary partner with the Israeli occupation government in all its aggressive and unfair decisions and measures against our people,” Abbas said.

Abbas called on the international community to censure Israel and to formally recognize the state of “Palestine.”

According to Palestinian officials, Abbas’ remarks amounted to no more than a threat that he’s unlikely to act on.

The unnamed officials cited by The Jerusalem Post also said Abbas’ threat would not impact Israel’s decision to move ahead with annexation. According to the report: “Abbas, they said, does not hold powerful cards that allow him to threaten Israel and the US.”

“President Abbas made an announcement last night, and we are waiting to see how the world is going to react. In any case, we won’t take any real measures before the Israeli government officially announces the annexation of parts of the West Bank,” one official said.

He noted that Abbas has made threats to dissolve the PA and to stop agreements with Israel on multiple occasions over the past five years.

“How many times can you repeat the same threat? How can you renounce the same agreements you said you renounced five years ago? That’s why Israel and many in the international community no longer take these threats seriously,” he told the Post.

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