Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said Saturday he had ordered an end to all security cooperation with Israel as the states of the Arab League announced they were rejecting Donald Trump’s Middle East plan.
Despite the hostility between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the two sides’ security forces cooperate closely against mutual enemies like Hamas, and the threat of withdrawing cooperation is one of the Palestinians’ only ways of putting pressure on Israel.
Speaking at an emergency Arab League summit in Cairo, Mr Abbas said he was taking that step and severing all relations with both the Israeli and US governments. “We’ve informed the Israeli side that there will be no relations at all with them and the United States including security ties,” he said.
Shortly after he spoke, the Arab League said it was rejecting Mr Trump’s plan, saying it did not meet the minimum requirements to be fair to the Palestinians, and that Arab states would not help in implementing it.
The 21 Arab nations also warned Israel not to move ahead with plans to unilaterally parts of the occupied West Bank.
It remains to be seen whether either Mr Abbas’ orders or the Arab League statement are implemented in reality.
The PA has repeatedly warned it would cut security cooperation with Israel but then has not followed through. Israel’s military might helps keeps the PA’s fragile West Bank government standing against its rivals Hamas, who control the Gaza Strip.
The Arab League statement also seemed to contradict earlier comments by some of its most powerful members, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who welcomed the Trump plan when it was released earlier this week.
The White House plan calls for Israel to retain full control of Jerusalem and to annex large portions of the West Bank. It offers the Palestinians the possibility of an independent state on fragments of the land they hoped for as well as $50 billion (£38 billion) in international investment.
“I will not go down in history as someone who sold or gave up on Jerusalem,” said Mr Abbas.
He said he refused to speak to Mr Trump or accept a letter from him because the US president would use any contact to claim that the Palestinians had been consulted on the plan.
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