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PLO decision to limit security coordination with Israel 'very serious this time'

May 7, 2016 2:22 P.M. (Updated: May 8, 2016 8:37 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma'an) -- The secretary of Fatah's revolutionary council said Saturday that a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) decision to limit relations with Israel was “very serious this time.”

Amin Maqboul told Ma’an that the decision was made to "end all aspects of security coordination with Israel.”

He added that PA security services were instructed to start implementing the decision “under supervision of the Palestinian political echelon” and that security agencies would decide whether to implement the decision gradually or entirely.

The Fatah official said that “relations between both sides are so complicated that halting coordination may lead to a serious crisis.”

Israeli forces, he said, may carry out a sudden incursion into Palestinian controlled areas without notifying Palestinian security services in advance “and that could prompt armed clashes.”

He pointed out that complications could arise during visits by right-wing Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. Such problematic issues, which have so far been under control through security coordination, will remain questionable, he said.

The main motivation behind ending the PA’s security relationship with Israel, Maqboul stressed, was for the PA to not remain silent about the near-daily raids conducted by Israeli forces inside the West Bank, which legitimize Israel’s illegal occupation of these areas.

He added that the decision did not mean the PA was declaring an intention to begin armed fighting with Israel or indicate a “shift from one stage to another,” but was merely made in response to Israel’s refusal to stop entering Area A -- the 18 percent of the occupied West Bank which are officially under full Palestinian civil and security jurisdiction.

However, Maqboul concluded by saying the PLO might reconsider its decision if Israel commited to not entering Area A.

The decision in question was made by the PLO Executive Committee on Wednesday to start implementing a former decision made by the PLO Central Council in March that threatened to limit coordination with Israel if the "current situation" were to continue.

Then, in April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in an Israeli security cabinet meeting that in spite of the talks with Palestinian officials, Israeli armed forces would continue their military incursions into Area A.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told Ma’an in response to the Israeli security cabinet decision: “What Israel wants is for everyone to talk about details -- Area A, a few maritime miles in Gaza -- while in the bigger picture they continue moving ahead with their settlements and imposing an apartheid system over our people.”

Deputy head of Hamas’ politburo Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday in a statement regarding the recent Israeli hostilities in the Gaza Strip that have so far killed one Palestinian woman and injured several others: "I hope that statements by the PA regarding limiting relations with the (Israeli) occupation are implemented on the ground, and that security coordination with occupation must be stopped.”

The PA has repeatedly threatened to put an end to the security coordination with Israel over the years.

However, a recent report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz claimed that Palestinian security forces have carried out 40 percent of detentions of “suspected terrorists” in the occupied West Bank in past months.

In March, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stirred controversy in an interview when he credited the ongoing security coordination between the PA and Israel for curbing a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets.

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 than 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.

More than 200 Palestinians and nearly 30 Israelis have been killed since a surge in violence began in the occupied Palestinian territory last October.

The recent violence has been marked by small-scale attacks and attempted attacks, the majority carried out by Palestinian individuals on Israeli military targets.
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