Trending Topics:

PA threatens to cut ties with Israel over Sur Bahir demolitions. Critics say they’re bluffing.

News
on 9 Comments

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is threatening to cut ties with Israel over its massive demolition campaign in in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Sur Bahir that resulted in the displacement of dozens of Palestinians, calling it a “war crime par excellence” and a “crime against humanity.”

In a statement made to the official PA news website Wafa, President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that over the coming days the Palestinian leadership will “make crucial decisions regarding the relationship with Israel and the agreements signed with it.”

“[Rudeinieh] said that President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly warned that the Palestinian side cannot continue to abide by the agreements signed with Israel if it insists on not committing to them, stressing the need for everyone to shoulder their responsibilities, including Israel as an occupying power,” Wafa reported. 

The majority of the 10 buildings that were demolished in Sur Bahir were located in Area A and B of the West Bank, which according to the Oslo Accords, are under the jurisdiction of the PA. Residents argued that they duly obtained building permits from the PA, therefore nullifying any demolition orders issued by Israeli authorities.

The unprecedented nature of the demolitions sparked international criticism from leaders in Canada, Denmark, France, the EU, and the Arab League, among others.

Palestine’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday that a request for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the Sur Bahir issue — made at the behest of Abbas — was approved and that PA leaders had “decided on cessation of dealing with the Israeli courts.”

Additionally, upon instruction from Abbas, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a complaint to the international Criminal Court (ICC) against the demolitions in Sur Bahir, Erekat said during a press conference on Tuesday.

“[The] leadership decided to put in place mechanisms to cancel all agreements with Israel,” Erekat said.

An emergency meeting called by Abbas is expected to be held in Ramallah on Thursday.

The Palestinian leadership’s threats to cut ties with Israel come as US envoys Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner are set to visit the region to discuss US President Donald Trump’s upcoming peace plan.

The PA has already suspended diplomatic relations with the US since 2017, and has refused to engage in the Trump administration’s peace talks.

While threats to cut ties with Israel are not to be taken lightly, given the PA’s current financial crisis and standoff with Israeli and American officials, critics say they are skeptical that the PA will follow through with concrete action.

“Ultimately, the PA is completely powerless to make these kind of dictates,” political analyst Dawoud Yousef told Mondoweiss. “They exist because the occupation allows it.”

“From the Oslo Accords onwards, the PA has been designed and structured to be dependent on cooperation with Israel,” Yousef said, noting that such cooperation “moves beyond the matter of the dispersing of custom and tax dues, but to freedom of movement and operation for the PA elite and their very ability to govern.”

It’s not the first time the PA has threatened to cut ties with Israel, Yousef said, citing similar threats made in 2006 following the election of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “We saw the closest thing to a PA withdrawal from interaction with Israeli officials, and it lead to near bankruptcy for the institution.”

Last year, Abbas threatened to end the PA’s infamous security coordination with Israel if Israeli authorities cut money from the funds used by the PA to pay the families of prisoners and “martyrs.”

But even then, Yousef noted that “the ending of security cooperation was never complete and only meant the ending of high level communications, not day to day interactions between security forces.”

“In essence, these threats demonstrate to an acute degree the complete emptiness of the PA’s diplomatic strategy within the current Post-Oslo paradigm,” Yousef told Mondoweiss. “The asymmetry of power wasn’t offset by the PA’s establishment, it was officially entrenched. It is as if the prison says that he no longer recognizes his cell.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

9 Responses

  1. Mayhem on July 24, 2019, 8:55 pm

    If I have a property and I build an extension that goes too close to the border of my property then I am in breach of the law. The PA might have jurisdiction or “ownership” of Areas A and B but that doesn’t give them the right to build too close to the boundary of what they control.

    • hai_bar on July 24, 2019, 10:02 pm

      Mayhem: “property … bullshit …. border of my property …. bullshit”

      Are we talking about Ukraine or Russia? Wait where are you from exactly?

    • oldgeezer on July 24, 2019, 10:56 pm

      @Mayhem

      If they were actually in control then they certainly would have that right. They build right up to the last mm before the border. But you know they aren’t really in control. They’re just another Israeli form of control over the actual indiginous peoples of the area.

      btw…. you forgot that the Israeli High Court found that the idf did not bother to tell the PA about the exclusion zone until years after it was decided.

      Yet illegal Israeli outposts get retroactively legalized for absolutely no good reason.

      Apartheid.

      Apartheid on steriods.

    • Talkback on July 25, 2019, 4:25 am

      Mayhem; “i I have a property and I build an extension that goes too close to the border of my property then I am in breach of the law.”

      Here’s what is actgually a breach ot the law.
      Entering someone’s property without consent
      Settling on someone’s property without consent.
      Forcing someone from his own property.
      Building a wall on someone’s property without consent.
      Demolishing the property in someone’s property to build.
      Restricting the freedom of movement of someone on his own property.

      Mayhem: “The PA might have jurisdiction or “ownership” of Areas A and B but that doesn’t give them the right to build too close to the boundary of what they control.”

      The fact that the occupier of Palestine allows the PA (or even Hamas) to administer parts of its territories under occupation doesn’t mean that these are the only parts they “own” or that this ownership is restricted to the bounday of what they control.

      The parts of the wall that are running through Palestinan occupied territories were illegaly build by the occupier and have to be dismantled according to the International Court of Justice, including the compensation of those whose lands have been illegaly confiscated.

    • eljay on July 25, 2019, 7:22 am

      || Mayhem: If I have a property and I build an extension that goes too close to the border of my property then I am in breach of the law. The PA might have jurisdiction or “ownership” of Areas A and B but that doesn’t give them the right to build too close to the boundary of what they control. ||

      Exactly: Israel’s theft and military occupation of almost all of geographic Palestine outside of its / Partition borders (incl. Jerusalem) doesn’t give it the right to colonize it or keep it. Well said.

    • Misterioso on July 25, 2019, 8:54 am

      @Mayhem

      Firstly, your nom de plume, “Mayhem,” is entirely appropriate, i.e., “violent or damaging disorder. Synonyms: “chaos, disorder, confusion, havoc, bedlam, pandemonium, tumult, uproar, turmoil, madness, madhouse, hullabaloo, all hell broken loose, wild disarray, disorganization, maelstrom, trouble, disturbance, commotion, riot, anarchy, destruction, violence.”
      __________________________________________________________________________

      Kudos to the Canadian government:

      https://mailchi.mp/28dbf1de710c/israel-to-demolish-100-homes-in-the-west-bank-canadian-govt-condemns-move?e=d3e5e74069

      CFOS (Canadian Friends of Sabeel) Weekly Digest for July 25, 2019

      “100 PALESTINIAN HOMES TO BE DEMOLISHED, CANADIAN GOV’T CONDEMNS”

      “The West Bank village of Sur Baher was targeted by hundreds of Israeli troops and bulldozers on Monday, July 22 as they began operations to demolish approximately 100 homes, citing ‘security concerns’ and claiming that the proximity of the houses to the infamous (and illegal) separation barrier endangers the soldiers who are stationed there. However, many accuse Israel of using the barrier to displace Palestinians from their homes and make room for long-term expansion of illegal settlements.

      “The Canadian government responded yesterday by condemning the move and calling on Israel to halt the demolitions. We applaud this move and hope that it will be a catalyst for condemnation of other illegal activities Israel is conducting in occupied Palestine, such as the construction of illegal settlements and the continued expansion of the separation barrier.”

      Official release of Canadian government: “Canada is deeply concerned by demolitions of Palestinian property in SurBaher. We call on Israeli authorities to halt such demolitions which are illegal under international law and undermine efforts for a two state solution.”

      • eljay on July 25, 2019, 9:49 am

        || Misterioso: … Official release of Canadian government: “Canada is deeply concerned by demolitions of Palestinian property in SurBaher. We call on Israeli authorities to halt such demolitions which are illegal under international law and undermine efforts for a two state solution.” ||

        That is almost verbatim the tepid reply the U.N. provided. Imagine.

  2. Elizabeth Block on July 25, 2019, 8:30 am

    Abbas threatened to resign years ago. If he had any self-respect, he would have. He didn’t, of course. I too think this is an empty threat.

  3. Elizabeth Block on July 25, 2019, 8:32 am

    There’s someone – a liberal Israeli, I forget his name, Aviv something – coming to speak in Toronto in September, who will say why Israel demolished these houses. Uh huh.

Leave a Reply