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Palestinian president takes U-turn on cutting security ties with US, Israel

February 3, 2020 08:47 PM


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Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas appeared to hint Monday that security ties with the United States and Israel were still intact, despite earlier announcing their severance in response to President Donald Trump's peace plan.

On Saturday, Abbas had said he was cutting security ties with Israel and the US over the initiative, which was released last week and has been angrily rejected by Palestinians. A cut in security ties could jeopardise the relative calm in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

But on Monday, Abbas appeared to step back from that statement, implying he had not yet severed ties but still could. "If the Americans continue with this project, the boycott is there (as an option), a full boycott," he told a cabinet meeting.

Israeli-Palestinian security coordination ranges from information sharing about militant cells in the West Bank to coordination between police forces. Palestinian forces have also received training from the United States and other Western countries.

Abbas cut political relations with the Trump administration in December 2017 after the US controversially recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "There is one channel left and this channel should be cut off," Abbas added, seemingly referring to security coordination.

He pledged that his government would continue to provide Palestinians with key services, including health and education. Abbas has made threats to cut security ties with Israel multiple times, without following through.

Trump's plan proposes granting Israel full sovereignty over Jerusalem and large sections of the West Bank, which the Jewish state has occupied since 1967. In exchange, the Palestinians would rule the remaining parts of the West Bank, as well as the Gaza Strip.

The plan, seen as overwhelmingly supportive of Israeli goals, has triggered protests in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as in other parts of the region. The Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, a pan-Islamic body that represents more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, rejected the plan Monday, while the Arab League did the same at a meeting in Cairo over the weekend.



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