Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the Palestinian Authority is terminating all agreements with Israel and the United States in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent reaffirmations of his intention to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.f
“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 commitments based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” Abbas said in the statement on Tuesday.
The Palestinian president emphasized that the move was in reaction to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, also envisaged in US President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century unveiled earlier this year.
Abbas further stated:
“We place full responsibility on the US administration for the occupation of the Palestinian people, and consider it a key partner in Israel’s actions and decisions against the rights of the Palestinian people.”
The US president officially unveiled his scheme, the so-called deal of the century, in January at the White House with Netanyahu at his side, while Palestinian representatives were not invited.
Nevertheless, Abbas said the PA remained committed to the two-state solution, that he planned to seek recognition of statehood in a number of international agreements and conventions, and called on the international community to impose sanctions on Israel and to recognize the State of Palestine. He also added that the Palestine would continue to pursue the Israeli government before international authorities and courts, referring specifically to the International Criminal Court which announced its intention to open a war crimes investigation into Israeli and Palestinian actions in the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Earlier in the day, Germany and the Palestinian Authority released a joint statement expressing ‘grave concern’ over Israel’s declared intention to proceed with the annexation plan.
The language used in the announcement is reminiscent of a public letter by fifty former European foreign ministers and other senior statesmen published in the Guardian in February, in which they stated in part:
“As Europeans dedicated to promoting international law, peace and security worldwide, we express our deep concern about President Trump’s Middle East plan, titled Peace to Prosperity.
The plan contradicts internationally agreed parameters for the Middle East peace process, relevant UN resolutions, including security council resolution 2334, and the most fundamental principles of international law. Instead of promoting peace, it risks fuelling the conflict – at the expense of Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike, and with grave implications for Jordan and the wider region. It has been met with widespread opposition in the region, in Europe, and in the United States.
The plan allows for annexation of large and vital parts of the occupied Palestinian territory and legitimises and encourages illegal Israeli settlement activity. It recognises only one side’s claims to Jerusalem and offers no just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. It projects a future Palestinian “state” without control and sovereignty over its fragmented territory. The map featured in the plan proposes Palestinian enclaves under permanent Israeli military control, which evoke chilling associations with South Africa’s bantustans.
Peace to Prosperity is not a roadmap to a viable two-state solution, nor to any other legitimate solution to the conflict. The plan envisages a formalisation of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights. Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid – a term we don’t use lightly.
The international community, particularly the European Union, must prevent such a scenario from unfolding, in order to preserve the dignity and rights of the Palestinians, the future of Israeli democracy and the wider international rules-based order…”
A report in the Jerusalem Post noted that former vice president and probable Democrat nominee Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he opposes Israeli plans to annex settlements in the West Bank.
During a conversation with Jewish donors, Biden declared that both the Israelis and the Palestinians should take steps that promote the two-state solution, and avoid unilateral measures.
“I think we also have to make it clear that I do not support annexation,” he said, adding that “The Palestinians need to end incitement in the West Bank and rocket attacks in Gaza.”