A senior Palestinian source warned Thursday that security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is on the verge of collapse. The source, in a conversation with the Times of Israel, said that recent, “dangerous” developments on the ground — notably the killing of two Palestinians in Nakba Day demonstrations earlier in the day – has already led to heavy pressure on the Palestinian leadership to immediately sever ties with Israel’s security apparatuses.
The source said that there was coordination between the two sides ahead of the Thursday demonstrations, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the fatalities. He added that during discussions with Israeli defense officials in the wake of the incident, the PA was assured that an investigation would be launched into what caused the fatalities and whether soldiers had fired live ammunition.
But even if they didn’t die of live fire, the source said, Fatah and other organizations were demanding that Palestinian defense officials cease coordination with Israel.
“We don’t want an escalation,” he said, “but understand that the situation on the ground is in the brink of exploding.
“We can act to calm the [people’s] sentiments, but it only takes one bullet to raise these feelings again,” he continued, noting that the PA has been organizing meetings to address continued security coordination with Israel.
“We aren’t the South Lebanese Army,” he said, a reference to the militia group Israel once used as a proxy in southern Lebanon against the PLO and Hezbollah. “You must do something here in order to stabilize the situation. [There is] ongoing construction in the settlements, a refusal to freeze construction, and continued mistreatment of Palestinians.
“There is now a hunger strike among the prisoners and the whole situation is very volatile,” he said. “We say to you, if conditions continue like this, we will pass over to you the mechanisms [of control] and you will have to deal with the situation.”
The source also spoke to the subject of stalled peace talks, saying there were phone calls between members of the Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams, to no avail.
“The Israelis did not bring any new or different ideas,” he said, adding that during a meeting Wednesday in London between US Secretary of State John Kerry and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, it was revealed for the first time that Israel is unwilling to release 30 long-serving prisoners, and is not ready to implement a construction freeze in the settlements.
“In front of us there are difficult, grave decisions, and none of them are simple ones,” he said.
Sources in the IDF and defense establishment refused to comment directly on the situation, although they warned that stopping security cooperation could damage the Palestinian side and the economic situation of West Bank residents. The Israeli sources lauded the continued security coordination since, they said, it serves the interests of both sides.