Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, signs a request to join 15 United Nations-linked and other international treaties at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Standing next to him is Saeb Erekat. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
The fog created by the ostensibly impending resignation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to clear Monday, as details emerged indicating that the resignation threats were a diversion ahead of a dramatic move planned by the Palestinians: declaring Palestine a state under occupation and reneging on their obligations as detailed in the Oslo Accords.
The move was apparently decided on several months ago by Saeb Erekat, the acting head of the Palestinian negotiating team and the secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee, who was the man behind a document setting out the Palestinians’ diplomatic moves against Israel during the month of September.
Erekat, who is expected to be elected as a full member of the PLO Executive Committee at the organization’s next meeting, is already emerging as one of the most powerful men in Abbas’s circle and a potential successor to the 80-year-old PA president. Erekat was also the brains behind the Palestinian plan to ramp up pressure on Israel by joining institutions and organizations like the International Criminal Court at The Hague and others.
One senior PLO official, Ahmed Majdalani, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency on Sunday that the central committee would discuss the above-mentioned resolutions in its coming session. After voting on the decisions, the Palestinians are expected to announce the annulment of all agreements signed between the PLO and Israel, and to declare a new relationship with the Jewish state. Majdalani added that an announcement has already been drafted by the preparatory committee of the Palestinian National Council.
The Oslo Accords, as well as the agreement signed in Sharm el Sheikh in 1994, are expected to be canceled. Also set to be annulled are an economic agreement signed in Paris and several pacts on security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
At this stage, it is still not yet clear what the actual implications of such a decision will be. It will reportedly be accompanied by an announcement by Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly session at the end of the month, where he is expected to say that in light of the annulment of the agreements, Palestine will be considered a state under occupation.