Palestinian Authority to suspend agreements with Israel

The decision announced by Mahmoud Abbas comes after the demolition of the Area A Palestinian village of Sur Baher by Israel

July 29, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Meeting of the leadership of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 25.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), announced on July 23 that the Palestinian government will suspend all agreements signed with Israel. He made the announcement following an emergency meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization after Israel razed down several residential buildings in the Palestinian village of Sur Baher.

Abbas also said that a special committee will be formed to implement the decision. Agreements between the PA and Israel signed over the last 25 years cover matters ranging from water usage and electricity to economic relations and security.

In a speech in Ramallah, Abbas said, “We announce the leadership’s decision to stop implementing the agreements signed with the Israeli side.. We will not bow to the dictates and imposing a fait accompli by force in Jerusalem and elsewhere.” Omar al-Ghoul, an advisor to Abbas, said that the president’s statement “also includes security coordination,” without divulging any further details.

Earlier last week, Israel demolished residential buildings in the village of Sur Baher, situated between the occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. A majority of the buildings were in Area A of the West Bank, which is under the control of the PA. The PA had issued permits to residents to build the structures. According to Abbas, “The decision not to abide by the agreements signed with Israel was made in light of the state of the Israeli occupation’s demolitions of dozens of homes of our people in East Jerusalem, the capital of our eternal state.”

Abbas classified the incident as a “clear breach of international law and a clear breach of the international resolutions and all the peace agreements signed between the PA and Israel.” He also said that hundreds of people from Sur Baher have been displaced. Israel justified the demolitions by stating that the Palestinian buildings were too close to the illegal Israeli apartheid wall, which Israeli refers to as the ‘separation barrier’.

Abbas also reiterated the Palestinian rejection of the US-Middle East peace plan, touted as the ‘deal of the century’ by US president Donald Trump. “Palestine and Jerusalem are not for sale and bargain. They are not a real estate deal in a real estate company,” he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces shot and killed a 23-year-old Palestinian man Ahmed al-Qarra during the weekly Friday protests at the Gaza-Israel border last week, according to the Gaza health ministry. The ministry said on July 26 that al-Qarra died “as a result of wounds sustained (from) the Israeli occupation forces’ fire the previous day.”

As per the ministry’s statement, Israeli forces shot al-Qarra in the stomach during a demonstration east of Khan Yunis. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where doctors later declared him dead. 56 other Palestinians were injured in the protests, out of which 38 were hit and injured by live ammunition. 22 of the injured were under the age of 17. There were also reports of Israeli soldiers targeting an ambulance.

The committee in charge of the protests said that the demonstration did not break any of the rules of conduct that were decided on in the last few weeks. It also said that the protests were attended by several thousand protesters but “the Israeli military still responded ruthlessly with rubber-tipped and live rounds.”