In a sign of worsening relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council called for an end to a two-decade-old security cooperation deal with Israel, according to media reports. Although the final decision to implement the council’s resolution rests with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a decision by the PLO is regarded as binding on the Palestinian Authority.
The council reportedly called for the suspension of “all forms of security coordination given Israel’s systematic and ongoing non-compliance with its obligations under signed agreements, including its daily military raids throughout the State of Palestine, attacks against our civilians and properties.”
The security arrangement, which has been in place since the Oslo Accord was signed by the government of Israel and the PLO in 1993, involves sharing of intelligence and is considered crucial for Israel to monitor the activities of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The suspension of the security deal has the potential to end a fragile calm in the region and escalate violence in Gaza and the West Bank.
“Israel must pay the price for its refusal to assume its responsibilities under international law, including the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination,” the council reportedly said.
The decision by the Central Council, which is the second-highest Palestinian decision-making body, is believed to be a response to Israel’s recent decision to withhold tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority, which came after the Palestinian body joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), where it plans to press for war crime charges against Israel.
“Israel owes us ILS 1 billion ($250.4 million) and 800 million from tax and healthy insurance and it refused to transfer the money to us. This is other than clearance revenues … when we asked for the reason, the Israeli government told us it withheld the money because we went to the ICC,” Abbas said, during a speech to the Central Council on Thursday. “Are we here dealing with a state or a thug? How can such a thing happen?”