Palestine to resume relationship with Israel after monthslong pause: Official

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee in Ramallah. (File Photo: AFP)

Palestinian officials announced Monday the resumption of ties with Israel after a monthslong pause following the Middle East peace plan unveiled by Washington earlier this year.

“In light of the calls made by President #Abbas regarding Israel’s commitment to the bilateral signed agreements,& based on the official written and oral letters we received, confirming Israel’s commitment to them,” Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al Sheikh said on Twitter.

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“Accordingly, the relationship with #Israel will return to how it was,” he added.

In February, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that his country would cut all ties with the United States and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented by US President Donald Trump.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s security forces have long cooperated in policing areas of the occupied West Bank that are under Palestinian control. The PA also has intelligence cooperation agreements with the CIA, which continued even after the Palestinians began boycotting the Trump administration’s peace efforts in 2017.

In a Zoom video conference organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the decision to resume contacts with Israel was based in part on confronting the health crisis.

Between the hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers who live in the West Bank, and the tens of thousands of Palestinian workers who commute to Israel daily for work, coordination was needed to help prevent the virus’s spread, Shtayyeh said.

“Our life is so interconnected between us and the Israelis, and there is no way that we can fight viruses by ourselves only,” he said.

Palestinian sources said cooperation with Israel would resume immediately. An Israeli official said “we are very close” to renewing coordination, citing exchanges of messages between Israel’s defense minister and Palestinian authorities.

“One thing that certainly helped the Palestinians (reach their decision) was (Joe) Biden’s election (as U.S. president), which gave them ... an excuse to climb down from the tree,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read more: Saudi Arabia rejects, condemns Israel's settlement moves near East Jerusalem

- with Reuters

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Last Update: Wednesday, 18 November 2020 KSA 10:12 - GMT 07:12
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