Despite threat, Abbas not likely to stop security coordination with Israel

Defense officials say despite Palestinian leader’s speech that he is stopping security coordination with Israel, the arrangements serve both sides and probability is low that Abbas will act on his words.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Security officials said Wednesday that there has been no change in security coordination with the Palestinian Authority despite Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas saying he was cutting all ties.

Abbas told Palestinian officials in Ramallah Tuesday that the Palestinians were absolving themselves of all agreements and understandings with the Americans and Israelis, including security cooperation with Israel.

“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.

A senior PA security official said he was unaware of any instruction from the Palestinian leadership to halt security coordination with Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported. “We only heard from the Israeli media that security coordination has been stopped,” he said. “But so far we haven’t received any order from our political or security leaders.”

Israeli security sources said there was no change, and one official estimated that “there is a low likelihood that Abbas will break all of the tools and sever ties with Israel, since the agreements serve both sides.”

“If Abu Mazen decides tomorrow to stop activities against Hamas and the security coordination [with Israel], he will be exposed to subversive activity by the organization, his sworn enemy,” the source told Walla News.

The Hamas terror group in Gaza seized power from Abbas’s Fatah organization in a bloody 2006 military coup, and he has not hidden its aspirations to totally take over the PA. Security coordination with Israel is aimed primarily at stopping Hamas from doing just that.

Both sides define the security coordination between Israel and the PA as extremely important for both sides, but another security official said Israel would be monitoring the dynamics to see how far Abbas’s remarks go and if they are reflected by changes in the field.

It is not the first time Abbas has claimed to cut ties with Israel, and the threat has been repeated several times over the years.

Tuesday’s speech appeared to be sparked by Israeli intentions to annex settlements in Judea, Samria and the Jordan Valley and were intended for Palestinian public consumption.

“In the test of time, there is a very large gap between what Abbas has said over the years and what actually happened. In my view, the security coordination between the Palestinian security forces and Israel is stable and effective,” the Israeli source said.

Abbas appeared to be piggybacking on comments made by some European leaders and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden who voiced their opposition to the annexation idea, with Biden saying that doing so could “stifle any hope of peace.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also called on Israel to refrain from any unilateral move, joining EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell who said applying sovereignty would undermine the two-state solution and could affect Israel-EU relations.