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PA to 'reconsider cooperation with Israel'

Feb. 26, 2012 2:11 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2012 10:03 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority is planning to reconsider its security, political and economic agreements with Israel in the coming days, a PLO official said on Sunday.

After exploratory talks with Israel ended without agreement, the PLO Executive Committee has agreed to take a number of measures to jolt the current stalemate.

PLO officials protest that they cannot enter negotiations while Israel builds settlements on lands needed for a viable Palestinian state.

The PA complained that Israel's approval of 500 new settler homes and retroactive approval of 200 more in the northern West Bank last week is "stark indication of Israel’s policy to continue occupying the West Bank."

In an interview with Egyptian channel CBC on Friday, President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA was planning a "major decision" in no more than 10 days, in response to the talks' failure.

PLO Executive Committee Hanna Amira told Ma'an the PA will reconsider its cooperation with Israel, and reactivate popular resistance against Israel's occupation. It will also consider taking its case to the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

"All alternatives are open in future, but that does not necessarily mean disbanding the PA," he added, referring to past threats to dissolve the Palestinian government.

Senior Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Qays Abdul-Karim told Ma'an that Abbas' measures would not break past agreements, but reevaluate their terms.

"The Israeli government has turned its back on all agreements and continues to impose facts on the ground through settlement expansion and the Judaization of Jerusalem … this cannot continue," he said.

Without any further talks on the horizon, the PA cannot continue to carry out its duties, Abdul-Karim added.

The PA government was given temporary jurisdiction within limited areas of self-rule in the 1993 Oslo Accords.

The measures intend to press the international community to meet its obligations to the peace process and push Israel to adhere to international agreements, Abdul-Karim said.

"Otherwise, we will not be responsible for the tension and instability if Israel continues to deny us our rights," he added.

No Israeli response to these moves could make the situation any worse than it is at present, the DFLP official said.

Israel froze the transfer of tax revenues to the PA -- collected by Israel on the Palestinian government's behalf under international agreements -- twice in 2011 when faction leaders agreed to end their four-year division.

The Arab League has largely accepted the Palestinian plans, and will protect the PA financially if Israel withholds tax again, Abdul-Karim said.

But Amira said Palestinian officials expect little support from the Arab League and Arab countries because of their current focus on the situation in Syria.
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