Dubai: On Saturday, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas annouced the Palestinian Authority was cutting all security ties with the US and Israel.
On the surface, this seems like a bold step following the release of US President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ last week.
The plan — widely viewed as intrinsically flawed and biased in favour of Israel — was rejected not only by Palestinians but by the Arab League during an emergency meeting on Saturday.
However, a closer look at the threat indicates it could be merely lip service and a way for the unpopular Palestinian president to save face.
According to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Research, 70 per cent of Palestinians want Abbas to step down while only 26 per cent want him to stay on.
This indicates that Abbas does not truly represent the Palestinian people (elections haven’t been held in over 10 years).
“The last time Abbas “cut security ties” with Israel in 2017, the head of the Palestinian police later said they had maintained 95 percent of their coordination, just didn’t do it publicly,” AFP reporter Joe Dyke, who covers the Palestinian territories tweeted.
On his part, Aaron David Miller, a Carnegie Senior Fellow and former State Department Middle East analyst, tweeted: “If I had a nickel for every time Abbas threatened to cut security ties with Israel.....Still I can’t think of a single US plan that was more ill-timed; ill-conceived and ill-advised.And we conceived some doozies.”
According to Palestinian journalist Khalid Abu Toameh, Abbas has threatened to cut security ties a whopping 58 times.
In March of 2015, the PLO announced it ended security cooperation with Israel, but the decision was never implemented.
What does security cooperation entail?
Security cooperation between Israel and Palestinian authorities involves sharing of intelligence between the two parties.
It was concocted during the Oslo Accords in order to “guarantee public order and internal security for Palestinians”.
However, the Palestinian security forces have been widely criticised for cracking down on their own people at the behest of Israel and simply seen as an extension of Israeli military occupation.
Israel captured and occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem during the 1967 War, in a move not recognised by the international community.
Since then it has carried out a systematic campaign to change the facts on the ground by building Jewish colonies on occupied land and also built a separation wall which was constructed under the pretext of security concerns but was widely seen as a land grab as the wall cuts deep into Palestinian territories and separates Palestinians from one another.
Trump, who has happily boasted that he is "Israel's best friend", is seen as the most pro-Israeli US president in history.
He has broken with decades of US policy during his presidency by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Occupied Jerusalem, recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and recognised the Occupied Golan Heights, which is Syrian territory, as Israeli.