Palestinians said set to withdraw recognition of Israel

Sources tell pan-Arab daily that the PLO will seek to pause all agreements until Jerusalem recognizes a state of Palestine

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah, April 30, 2018. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah, April 30, 2018. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP)

The top-level governing body of the Palestine Liberation Organization is reportedly set to adopt a resolution freezing its recognition of Israel and conditioning it on Israel recognizing a state of Palestine.

Sources close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat that the Palestinian National Council is expected to pass the resolution during its current gathering, and will also put on hold all other agreements with Israel.

Abbas is reportedly to announce the measures during a speech to the council on Thursday evening.

The sources said the PNC, which is holding a rare gathering this week in Ramallah, will make a number of decisions against Israel. Among other things, the council will allow the filing of war crimes complaints against Israeli figures and organizations, the sources said.

The PNC is the legislative body of the PLO, the official representative of the Palestinian people all over the world, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The PA, headed by Abbas, was created as a result of the 1993 Oslo Accords, in which the Palestinians agreed to recognize Israel. The PA is responsible for governing the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Decisions made by the PNC are usually also adopted by the PA.

In addition to the measures against Israel, the PNC will call for ending money transfers to the Gaza Strip, which the Hamas terror group seized from Abbas’s Fatah party in a violent coup in 2007, the report said. Several attempts at reconciliation between the rival factions have failed to restore PA governance in Gaza.

Abbas told the council that the PA, which has already slashed funding and imposed other sanctions on Hamas, transfers some $115 million a month to the Strip.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he chairs a Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah, April 30, 2018. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP)

On Monday Abbas provoked condemnation from Israel and the US after he gave a long, rambling speech to the council in which he said that the Holocaust was not caused by anti-Semitism but by the “social behavior” of Jews, including money lending. He touched on a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during what he called a “history lesson” as he sought to prove the 3,000 year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel is false.

Abbas also spoke at length about the failed peace process and reiterated his preemptive rejection of the peace plan that the Trump administration is working on, amid an ongoing and deep rift with the US.

The Palestinian leader told the hundreds of delegates that he was sticking to his rejection of any US proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal following the Trump administration’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a decision to move the US embassy there in mid-May.

The 82-year-old Abbas warned that he might “take tough steps in the near future in our relationship with our neighbors (Israel) and the Americans.” He did not elaborate, but said they would be important and far-reaching.

Later this week, the Palestinian National Council is to elect a new PLO Executive Committee, an 18-member leadership group that has served in recent years to rubberstamp any decisions by Abbas.

The elections, tightly controlled by Abbas, are expected to install a new group of loyalists in the committee. The council last convened over 20 years ago.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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