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Erekat: PLO to discuss future relations with Israel

May 3, 2016 3:38 P.M. (Updated: May 3, 2016 10:18 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee will decide on Wednesday “the nature of future relations with Israel,” PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told Ma’an on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Erekat told the official Palestinian government radio station that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had decided to suspend bilateral meetings between Palestinian and Israeli security officials.

It was not clear from Erekat’s on-air comments whether he was referring to the widely criticized security coordination between Israel and the PA, or only to meetings between high-profile officials from both sides.

However, his comments to Ma’an seemed to imply that the PLO Executive Committee could make a decision regarding the security coordination with Israel on Wednesday.

Erekat added during the radio interview that the decision was reached “after Palestinians received a clear message that Israel won’t adhere to already signed agreements, but rather continue to raid Palestinian territories.”

He also referred to the Israeli government's rejection of the ongoing French initiative to host Israeli-Palestinian peace talks later this year.

The Fatah movement’s central committee convened on Monday and came up with “important” recommendations,” Erekat added, which he said would be submitted to the PLO Executive Committee on Wednesday and “would be made public if they are approved.”

Despite repeated threats to end security coordination by Palestinian officials over the years, the Fatah-dominated PA and Israeli forces have worked in coordination since the Oslo Accords in 1993, which planned for a gradual power transfer of the occupied West Bank from Israeli forces to the PA over the course of five years.

More 20 years on, however, any transfer of power has yet to take place. The Hamas movement and other Palestinian groups have repeatedly accused the PA of aligning with Israel's goals in the occupied West Bank, and recently of preventing a sustained uprising against Israel.

PA security forces have on several occasions over the past six months prevented Palestinians from demonstrating near Israeli military infrastructure, with witnesses in April reporting PA forces in plainclothes detaining young Palestinian demonstrators in Bethlehem.
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