On Thursday, ten Palestinians were killed in an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin and the clashes that ensued in its aftermath. A few hours later, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took the only step at Ramallah’s disposal that could possibly influence the ground reality or generate an international response: He announced the immediate cessation of the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel.
For years, the Palestinian leadership has been calling for intervention from international institutions to no avail, particularly from the International Criminal Court. But the pictures that emerged from Jenin’s refugee camp on Thursday were beyond such pleas. If the PA took the same approach, it would have compounded the Palestinian people’s anger and distrust in Abbas and his government.
For the Palestinian public, security coordination with Israel has always been viewed as a knife stuck in their back. Calls to put an end to it arise at every opportunity and are usually met with refusal from Abbas – who once described the security relationship as “sacred.” Even when the PA has announced a halt to cooperation following certain crises – it wasn’t long before it was restored.
But this time, Ramallah had no choice – and is ultimately as aware as the Palestinian public that this security relationship is not between two equal entities with parallel capabilities and resources.
Israel, of course, is also well aware of the power imbalance in this relationship – and has made its views on the matter clear through its conduct over the past year. Without taking its ‘partner’ into account, the IDF has conducted raid after raid in Nablus, Balata, Jenin and various other cities and villages throughout the West Bank, including Abbas’ neighborhood. Israel’s technological capabilities enable it to undertake broad operations in Palestinian territory without coordination, while the other side is forced to coordinate even the simplest of matters – such as Abbas’ trips outside Ramallah.
Because both sides know the truth, it makes it hard for either of them to believe this cessation will actually hold – but the Palestinian leadership knows that if it manages to successfully answer its people’s calls, it will affect all layers of life in the West Bank.
Washington’s interest in maintaining the Palestinian Authority’s survival is an additional impediment to the move’s success, and this wasn’t lost on Abbas. The statement on Thursday was not only directed at Israel, but at the international community and the Biden administration in particular. It was released just ahead of the scheduled visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Israel and the West Bank and two days after a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman. For Abbas, the move and its timing is an opportunity to put the Palestinian question on everyone’s agenda and test the Biden administration’s willingness to intervene on behalf of the Palestinian people.
The coming week will determine the fate of the step. If it somehow manages to slow or stop the deteriorating situation or draw attention from the U.S. and the international community, it will prove itself significant. The first test will be on Friday, following prayer services at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – which comes after rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip in the early hours of the day, prompting an IDF attack on the strip in response.Article link: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-01-27/ty-article/.premium/abbas-had-no-choice-but-will-halting-security-ties-with-israel-actually-hold-or-work/00000185-f263-def6-a7b5-ff6feb940000
Article source: Haaretz | Jack Khoury | Jan 27, 2023