Middle East Monitor / November 18, 2020
The Palestinian Authority’s decision to restore security coordination and all other relations with Israel was both sudden and incomprehensible. No reasons have been provided. The shameful aspect of this is that it comes at the same time as the Israeli decision to build a new settlement for people who will colonise the remaining land in occupied Jerusalem.
It also comes in the wake of the normalisation agreements between three Arab countries and the occupation state. These equally shameful deals have been rejected by all of the Palestinian groups, including the PA itself, which has suddenly decided to jump back into Israel’s embrace.
The PA made the announcement less than 24 hours after Israel revealed its approval for the construction of a giant illegal settlement in occupied Jerusalem. More than 1,250 housing units will be built on this strategic and very important site in the Holy City. It will enable the most dangerous demographic change that Jerusalem has witnessed in many years.
The decision to restore security coordination and resume relations with Israel is de facto approval of the occupation’s ruthless settlement expansion, even though all settlements are illegal under international law. It also means that the PA is turning a blind eye to the humiliating normalisation agreements. How can we ask our Arab friends to boycott Israel while we, who face its hostility on a daily basis, are not boycotting it?
It is a simple fact that the reasons why the PA severed ties with Israel still exist. Moreover, the dangers of Trump’s deal still threaten the Palestinian people and the US has not altered any of its policies, so nothing has changed for the Palestinians. Trump is still in the White House and Biden is still only President-elect. We can only be cautiously optimistic at best about Biden’s position on the Palestinian issue.
The restoration of security coordination also means that Palestinian reconciliation efforts have failed again. It is likely that the PA did not consult Hamas or any other faction about its decision, and did not let any of the factions know in advance what it planned to do. This means that the dreams of reconciliation, elections, reform of the PLO and unity have evaporated. We are back to square one.
The PA is committing a major sin by restoring security coordination and betting on Israel and the US. In doing so, it is re-establishing for all to see that it is the “Oslo Authority” established according to an Israeli decision and will continue to operate in the shade of this decision. This is a very dismal situation that makes the PA a burden for the Palestinian people, not a benefit.
The bottom line is that the PA must realise that its true allies and only assets are the Palestinian people, all of them, and all of their factions and groups. Israel and the White House are a losing bet.
Look what happened to the martyr Yasser Arafat when he returned from Camp David in 2000 without any agreement. The process exposed the fact that the master of the White House could not be neutral and an honest broker, even as a Democrat President, as Bill Clinton was. Lest we get too excited, therefore, let us remember that Biden is from the same party. That’s why we must bet on the Palestinian people and their steadfastness, not on the US President of the day.
Mohammad Ayesh is a Palestinian journalist