Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to announce an end to the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians, a senior Palestinian official told the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency Monday. The move comes as the Palestinian leadership has grown increasingly frustrated by a years-long impasse with Israel.
The decision to nullify the agreement was reportedly drafted by a preparatory committee in advance of an upcoming Palestine National Council meeting; the decision is likely to be announced before a U.N. General Assembly meeting slated for later in September. Various faction members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the most significant Palestinian international representative body, have reportedly already agreed to the idea.
The Oslo Accords were considered a landmark agreement when reached in 1993. They marked the first time Israeli and PLO officials formally recognized each other and stipulated the creation of a temporary Palestinian administrative authority as an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank by 1998 gradually took place.
Nearly two decades on, Israel continues to occupy the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority maintains only limited governing power and Jewish settlements continue to expand. By announcing an end to the accord, Abbas is expected to declare the West Bank a state that is officially under foreign occupation and that no longer is bound to the agreement with Israel.
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“In light of the lack of commitment by Israel, the Palestinian leadership has decided that it isn’t bound by the agreement anymore, and President Abbas will announce that before the UN General Assembly,” PLO executive committee member Ahmad Majdalani told Ma’an.
Abbas has repeatedly threatened the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority over the years, claiming that Israel has failed to live up to its obligations. Annulling the Oslo Accords seems to present a way for Abbas to continue ruling, while at the same time ending a stalemate with Israel by pushing for recognition as an independent state.
Last month, Abbas, 80, announced his resignation from the PLO, in a move that Palestinian officials said was meant to make space for new blood in the Palestinian leadership. Some have questioned his motives and have said the move was a ploy to consolidate power. Meanwhile, Abbas has remained president of the Palestinian Authority.