ANALYSIS: Why is the PA seeking a new confrontation with Israel?

PA chief Mahmoud Abbas makes new threat to cut all cooperation with Israel - including security. Is it a bluff, or is he serious this time?

Yochanan Visser,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Why did Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas announce the PA would terminate all agreements with Israel last week?

After all, the PA leader has threatened to do this on many occasions but never made good on the promise and the excuse that it was a reaction to the recent demolitions of buildings in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher doesn’t seem to make sense.

This time, however, it looks like Abbas means business.

Just look at what PA officials said about the Israeli government decision to okay 700 building permits for Palestinian Arabs living in the so-called C area of Judea and Samaria.

“The terms A, B and C no longer exit because Israel has violated the Oslo Accords,” PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shattyeh said in a statement on Thursday.

“We do not need permission from the occupying power to build our homes on our territory,” he added.

In addition, Abbas decided to end the long-standing practice to send sick Palestinian Arabs to Israeli hospitals something that has led to grave concerns within the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Behind Abbas’ decision to end PA participation in all agreements with Israel is the current drive by the Trump Administration to win over Sunni Arab states for a radically different approach to the now hundred-year-old conflict.

According to the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot Trump is in the process of organizing a Camp David summit with these states only a move that led again to sharp-worded condemnation by the PA.

The Trump Administration later denied the Yediot report.

Abbas vehemently opposes Trump's approach and for this reason, is now trying to drive a wedge between the Arab states and the US administration.

“The ‘Deal of the Century’ is an attempt to bring down all the international agreements aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We will not stand idly by in the face of this dangerous plan," Abbas told the Israeli broadcaster Channel 13 this week.

To achieve his goals the PA leader increasingly cooperates with Jordanian King Abdullah II who he visited shortly before the announcement about the termination of the PA participation in the agreements with Israel.

According to Arab sources who sent this reporter classified information about the deliberations between the two leaders, a strategy was discussed which would undermine Trump’s peace plan and increase the pressure on Israel.

Both Abdullah and Abbas are facing increasing domestic opposition against the way they handle the severe economic and social problems in Jordan and the territories under PA control.

To divert attention from their failures Abbas and Abdullah reportedly decided to play the old el-Aqsa card and are waiting for an opportunity (for example, a visit by an Israeli or American official to the Temple Mount) to stir severe unrest in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

The same sources don’t expect that the unrest will end-up in a Third Intifada but it could be enough to save their regimes and to drive a wedge between the American Israeli Alliance and the moderate Arab countries thereby sabotaging Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.

The first signs that things are once again heating up in the so-called West Bank are there already.

On Tuesday night, Palestinian terrorists tried to execute a terror attack against 1,200 Jewish worshippers who wanted to pray at Joseph’s tomb near Shechem (Nablus in Arabic).

IDF soldiers found a pipe bomb near the entrance of the complex and succeeded to neutralize the explosive device after which severe disturbances broke out. Four Palestinian Arabs were wounded by IDF bullets during the clashes with scores of Palestinian protesters who threw rocks, Molotov cocktails and burned tires.

On Thursday, shots were fired at IDF soldiers near the Jewish village of Homesh in northern Samaria by a Palestinian terrorist on a motorcycle.

According to Col. (res.) Shaul Bartal a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria are increasingly copycatting Hamas’ tactics.

Bartal listed recent arson attacks with incendiary balloons and Molotov cocktails in places like Bet El, Jabel Mukaber, A-Tur and Issawiya in Jerusalem.

During his televised speech on Thursday last week, Abbas also reached out to Hamas and emphasized the importance of intra-Palestinian unity in light of the ongoing struggle against “the Israeli occupation regime” and the US.

Hamas, however, is doing Iran’s biding and has only called for new armed struggle against Israel in both Judea and Samaria next to a popular uprising.

"Release the hand of the popular, peaceful and armed struggle in the confrontation with the occupation, as this is the natural response to its crimes," Hamas leader Khalil
al-Hayya called upon the PA from Gaza.

The Sunni Islamist terror organization is continuing its war of attrition against Israel from Gaza as was proved early Thursday morning when a Palestinian terrorist in Hamas garb tried to infiltrate Israel from Gaza and wounded three Israeli soldiers.

Hamas has recently stepped up its activities in Judea and Samaria but only with the goal to take-over control of Israel’s biblical heartland.

Iran is assisting Hamas in its attempts to return to armed struggle in Judea and Samaria and recently tried to recruit Palestinian Arabs for a new spy-ring which was supposed to collect intelligence on IDF bases and movements in the region.

On Thursday, the Israeli security services showed they are aware of Hamas’ plans and arrested six members of the terrorist organization who were on their way from Jerusalem to Jericho.

“The Palestinians are not interested in a peace settlement,” Bartal wrote.

“It is convenient for them to maintain the status quo of an ongoing struggle against the Zionist enemy, whether out of religious or nationalist motives. The leaders and businessmen who gathered in Bahrain (during Trump’s economic ‘workshop’) may hope for a better future for the Palestinians, But leading a horse to water cannot make it drink,” he concluded.