Daily Israel Report

PLO Plans to 'Disengage' From Israel

In the latest sign that the 1993 Oslo Accords are moribund, PLO officials say they plan to completely disengage from Israel.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/30/2011, 12:55 PM

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials said Friday their decision to return to 'popular resistance' is aimed at 'disengaging' from Israel.

PLO Executive Committee member Tayseer Khalid said the new unified Fatah-Hamas strategy will be based on 'popular resistance' which will spread into PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria.

"The popular resistance will reshape the Palestinian relationship with Israel... to reach total disengagement with Israel," Khalid said.

"We will never accept to be an agent for the Israeli occupation," he added.

Khalid's statements are only the latest in the intransigent unilateralist mantra coming out of Ramallah and have led analysts to suggest that Fatah has decided to turn the PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria into a second Gaza.

Last week PLO officials officially adopted a strategy based on "continuous efforts along with the international community to secure full recognition and full United Nations membership, pursuing internal reconciliation, and keeping up the popular resistance."

They have also threatened to end economic and security ties with Israel.

Israeli officials have said the unilateral track adopted by their counterparts in Ramallah are a direct violation of the bilateral 1993 Oslo Accords - and warn unilateral moves on final status issues by PA officials will result in Israel making unilateral moves of its own.

It remains unclear what PA officials believe is to be gained by cutting all ties with Israel and returning to an all-or-nothing unilateral path.

PA security officials expressed concern earlier this year that a direct confrontation with Israel could have disasterous consequences, while Ramallah's senior economic advisers have warned discontinued Israeli participation in the PA economy would lead to fiscal insolvency.

A recent and short-lived decision to halt tax revenue transfers to the PA by Jerusalem sent Ramallah into a fiscal tail spin.

In addition, Israeli leaders have made it clear that attempts to realize territorial claims by force would result in Israel moving to secure its own communities in Judea and Samaria and could trigger Israel's annexing areas it prefers to retain in future negotiations.

Israel provides all critical infrastructure to Ramallah's enclaves, including electricity, water, telecommunications, and Internet.

Nonetheless, PA officials seem bent on confronting Israel while fomenting 'popular resistance.' While ostensibly non-violent, the so-called ‘popular resistance’ resulted in two violent Intifadas which and were accompanied by a spike in terror attacks that resulted in thousands of Israelis being killed.

Regional observers note Article 9 of the PLO charter continues to assert, "Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.”

It also maintains “Palestine” is defined by the British Mandate and is “indivisible” – thus leaving no room for Israel to exist at all.

With Israeli military leaders saying Israel can "not escape" a major operation in Hamas-run Gaza saying such a move is fast becoming "essential" – some observers say the PLO is making a dramatic strategic blunder.