President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (Image Source: Israeli News International)
It’s official: Oslo is defunct.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has finally declared an end to all agreements with Israel, effectively turning over the running of the entire West Bank to the Israeli government, and will no more guarantee of cooperation in subduing a Palestinian uprising.
The development was all but inevitable following a meeting in Ramallah this past week of officials from the P.L.O. and Fatah, the Palestinian declared:
“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the commitments based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones.”
From this, it is clearly implied he means all security agreements – including any joint policing arrangements with the Israel occupiers in the West Bank.
“The Israeli occupation authority, as of today, has to shoulder all responsibilities and obligations in front of the international community as an occupying power over the territory of the occupied state of Palestine, with all its consequences and repercussions,” Abbas said, according to Wafa News.
This is a historic annoucement and marks a de facto end to any Palestinian commitments under the US-brokered long and painful Oslo “peace process,” and with it, the likely end of the fabled “two-state solution” to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.
This latest Palestinian move has been forced by the ascendancy of far right forces in Israeli politics marshaled by Prime Minister Benjamen Netanyahu who have now openly declared ‘sovereignty’ over the West Bank, backed by the Trump Administration with its Evangelical base who share the Zionist notion of a ‘pure Jewish state’ which should control the entire Holy Land spanning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
This, argues Abbas, has all but “annulled the Oslo agreement” along with any subsequent agreements and amendments to it.
What’s key in this new calculus is that should the Israeli IDF patrols or Jewish settlers continue to persecute and attack native Palestinians, which will likely be followed by Palestinian protests, then PA/Palestinian Police will not intervene to quell popular unrest as per the previous Oslo arrangements. This could likely lead to situations and violence which could spiral out of control and invite a state of anarchy or worse, war – inside the occupied territories.
With such an unsavoury spectre along the near horizon, the IDF may have no choice but to move back into a full occupational Martial Law modus operandi, including full day-to-day control over some two million Palestinians in the West Bank.
Will Palestinian resistance fighters and factions now be assuming the role of public safety in some of these contested areas?
The New York Times reports:
And Maj. Gen. Adnan Damiri, a spokesman for the Palestinian security services, said that those agencies’ chiefs had attended the Ramallah meeting and understood that they were to stop all security cooperation with both Israel and the C.I.A.
“The Palestinian leadership has always left the decision of cutting all ties with Israel and the U.S. up to the president,” said Mahmoud al-Habbash, Mr. Abbas’s religious affairs adviser. “He has now made that decision, and there’s no room for maneuvering.”
But Mr. al-Habbash left room for some ambiguity. Asked if the police would continue to check with Israel before driving through Israeli-controlled West Bank territory, to avoid potential clashes, he said only, “We will continue to do our work and serve our people.”
Will it be a prelude to renewed hostilities, or even war?