Did Abbas cancel his ultimatum demanding Israel’s withdrawal from Judea and Samaria?

Palestinian officials say Abbas withdrew his ultimatum in return for Benny Gantz’s concessions.

By Baruch Yedid, TPS

A source in the PLO institutions told TPS that a Fatah Central Council meeting scheduled for January 20 was postponed due to fears that some of the organizations, including the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and pro-Syrian members of the PLO, were expected to oppose Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ decisions and demand that he immediately withdraw from the Oslo Accords and his recognition of Israel.

Arab sources report that the meeting was also postponed due to Abbas’ visit with the Egyptian president earlier this week.

The source says that the postponement of the Central Council’s meeting is causing a great deal of embarrassment in the Palestinian organizations, especially among Fatah elements.

The latest developments come against the background of reports in the Arab media according to which Abbas withdrew from the ultimatum he presented to Israel in September according to which Israel must withdraw from “the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967,” including eastern Jerusalem, and without this condition being met within a year, “the Palestinian recognition of Israel on the 1967 borders might be questionable.”

Abbas further threatened that the Palestinians “will go to the International Court of Justice as the supreme international judicial body, on the issue of the legality of the occupation of the land of the Palestinian state.”

Abbas made the threats just weeks after meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in August.

Arab sources claim that Abbas withdrew from this possibility and estimate that this is the result of his second meeting with Gantz in Rosh HaAyin earlier this month.

Another PA source told TPS in anger that Abbas withdrew his ultimatum “in return for the bottle of oil Gantz gave Abbas as a gift” and NIS 100 million in tax transfers.

The Arab reports claim that Abbas updated Fatah officials on his intention and told them that instead, the Palestinian Authority is pressuring Arab and Western states to act to save the PA from collapse.

In his recent meeting with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Abbas called for action to stop the activities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which severely undermine the status of the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile, Jibril Rajoub, Secretary-General of the Fatah Central Committee, announced that Abbas is expected to visit Syria soon. Rajoub is currently heading a Fatah delegation in Syria.

In an interview on Syrian television, Rajoub said that “the fact that Syria is out of the Arab League is a shame on the Arabs, and it should be returned to the organization.”

At a press conference at the Al-Sham Hotel in Damascus, Rajoub said that his visit to Damascus was a real breakthrough, given “the unprecedented escalation of Israeli occupation measures against the Palestinian cause.”

Rajoub thanked the Syrian people and leadership for “their firm stance on the Palestinian cause and the hospitality of the Palestinians as Syrian citizens in every way.”