Abbas: Security coordination with Israel will continue

PA chairman pledges to continue security coordination with Israel despite US funding cuts to PA security forces.

Elad Benari,

PA security forces
PA security forces
Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday pledged to continue security coordination with Israel, despite recent US funding cuts to PA security forces, The Associated Press reported.

Abbas told a gathering of Palestinian and Israeli activists that his government has counter-terrorism agreements with nearly 100 countries, including Israel.

He said his government has a "joint agreement to fight terrorism" with Israel and "will not violate it" — because if it does, "nothing will remain", according to AP.

Last week, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) ceased all assistance to Palestinian Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza at the request of the PA.

The PA request is linked to the January 31 deadline set by the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), new US legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.

The ATCA legislation passed by Congress last year provides for any government that receives funding to be subject to US counterterrorism laws.

The PA faces potential lawsuits from families of American victims of past Palestinian attacks.

PLO senior official Saeb Erekat confirmed last Thursday that US aid to the PA security services would come to an end as of Friday at the PA’s request.

“We do not want to receive any money if it will cause us to appear before the courts. We are not in need of this [US] assistance… We simply say, Jerusalem is not for sale,” said Erekat.

Since 2018, the US has cut aid to the Palestinian Authority, both by congressional action (including passage of the Taylor Force Act) and changes in policy by the Trump administration.

Trump's administration decided several months ago to completely halt its funding for the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” (UNRWA), which had previously stood at around $350 million a year.

Later, it announced it would cut $25 million more in direct aid to six hospitals that primarily serve Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem.

In September, Washington cut aid to the PA for programs supporting conflict resolution with Israelis.




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