Palestinian Authority president says no longer bound to commitments with US, Israel

Palestinian Authority president says no longer bound to commitments with US, Israel
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said he is disbanding the governing bodies of the Palestinian people and said it is no longer bound to commitments made with the U.S. and Israel, including on security cooperation.

Abbas's comments throw into question the period of relative stability between the two neighbors, though the real world consequences are unclear. The Palestinian president has made similar pronouncements to end security cooperation with Israel, but without following through.

The remarks come following the formation of a new Israeli government on Sunday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE promising to bring to a vote whether Israel can exercise sovereignty over its communities in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. The move is supported by the Trump administration, but vehemently opposed by the Palestinians.

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“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 in a speech in Ramallah, according to the Wafa News Agency, the outlet for the Palestinian National Authority.

Abbas added that he was handing over to Israeli authorities responsibility over Palestinian territories, potentially bringing an end to the Oslo Agreements signed in the 1990s. Under that agreement the West Bank was divided into three territories with the Palestinian Authority exercising control for both civil and security issues over one of the territories, or “Area A.”

“Area B” is mostly Palestinian territory with joint Israeli and Palestinian security cooperation. Israel has full civil and security control over “Area C.”

The United States has helped facilitate security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority since the Oslo agreement was signed.

Abbas said that promises by Netanyahu to annex territory identified in President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE’s plan for peace constituted Israel’s abandonment of the Oslo accords.

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The Palestinian president said he is committed to “achieving a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution” and the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for a negotiated peace between the Israelis and Palestinians that would lead to normalized relations with Arab nations.

Abbas said he rejects working with the Trump administration and is open to speaking with Democrats. Abbas and Trump have not communicated since the president cut off funding for the Palestinians in the fall of 2018, 

“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. “Yet we welcome all the positions of the other American parties that rejected the policies of this administration that are hostile to our people and their legitimate rights.”