PA to form plan for extensive ‘disengagement’ from Israel
search

PA to form plan for extensive ‘disengagement’ from Israel

Palestinians to explore going it alone on economy, security, currency; move seen as tactic to appease Palestinian public rather than real bid for change

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reads notes as he chairs a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 3, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reads notes as he chairs a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 3, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

The Palestinian Authority government on Tuesday decided to form a committee to prepare plans for “disengagement” from Israel.

The government also decided to task another committee with devising a plan to replace the Israeli shekel with any other currency, including a new Palestinian one.

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip do not have their own currency and continue to rely mostly on the Israeli shekel, Jordanian dinar, and US dollar.

PA employees in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip receive their salaries in shekels.

The latest move to disengage from Israel came in response to a decision last Saturday by the PLO Executive Committee, a key decision-making body dominated by loyalists of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The committee, at the end of a three-hour meeting chaired by Abbas, asked the PA government to immediately devise plans for “disengagement” between the Palestinians and Israel on all levels, including security and economy.

The Palestinians have long complained their economy remains too dependent on Israel.

Similar decisions taken by various Palestinian bodies in the past, including halting security coordination with Israel, have never been carried out and are mostly intended to appease the Palestinian public.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (R) welcomes Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (L) prior to an extraordinary international Palestine donors meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on January 31, 2018. ( AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS)

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was quoted at the weekly cabinet meeting as saying that “settlement expansion” and Israeli military control over Area C, as well as Israeli restrictions imposed on the Palestinians living there, constituted the main obstacle to the existence of a strong Palestinian economy.

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, Area C refers to those parts of the West Bank that are under full Israeli civil and security control.

Hamdallah called on donor countries to pressure Israel to remove, and not only ease, all restrictions imposed on Palestinians residing in Area C.

He also appealed to the donor countries to support various Palestinian projects, including the establishment of an airport and a seaport in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The PA government expressed “deep gratitude” for the EU’s commitment to provide 42.5 million euros ($52.4 million) in aid to “support Palestinian presence” in East Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Hebron and to boost economic development in various fields in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The PA condemned the recent US decision to add Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to the American list of global terrorists, claiming it paves the way for the assassination of Palestinian leaders.

In this file photo taken on January 23, 2018 Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech in Gaza City on January 23, 2018. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

“This decision provides Israel with a cover to continue its crimes against our people and leaders,” said a statement released after the meeting in Ramallah.

The PA government accused the US administration of remaining silent toward “organized state terrorism that is being perpetrated and encouraged by the Israeli government.”

It also condemned Israel’s latest security measures in the West Bank, which came in response to terror attacks that claimed the lives of Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal and Rabbi Raziel Shevach.

“The last brutal campaign in Jenin and its towns and refugee camp underscores the quick need for providing international protection (for the Palestinians) in the face of these crimes,” the statement added, renewing the call to the international community for holding Israel accountable.

Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, 22, head of the terror cell who shot dead Rabbi Raziel Shevach in the West Bank on January 9 (Twitter)

It was referring to a series of IDF raids on several villages and towns in Jenin and its surrounding villages and towns in the past two weeks in search of Ahmed Jarrar, the main suspect in the murder of Shevach. Jarrar was killed by the IDF on Tuesday morning.

The PA cabinet also denounced the recent Jerusalem Municipality move to collect taxes properties owned by churches and UN agencies and accused Israel of pushing forward with plans to “Judaize” East Jerusalem and “displace” the city’s Arab residents.

read more:
comments