Expert: The Palestinians need the security coordination more than Israel

Prof. Efraim Inbar explains why the PA will not go through with its threat to end security coordination with Israel.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has decided to gradually cut ties with Israel in the wake of its intention to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and one of the key steps is the termination of the security coordination between Israel and the PA.

Prof. Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, believes that the Palestinians will not go far despite their threats to do so.

"In principle, the Palestinians can decide not to continue the security coordination, but they will pay prices for it. It should be understood that the security coordination is primarily aimed at clearing Judea and Samaria from subversive elements against the PA regime. The purpose of the coordination is to locate the cells of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations that oppose Abbas’ rule and this is done together with Israel. There is a common interest here," Inbar told Arutz Sheva in an interview on Sunday.

He continued, "The scope of the coordination must also be understood. If about 6,000 people are arrested a year - two-thirds by Israel and only one-third by the PA - and they also have a revolving door and return to terror. Abbas has a clear interest in preserving the security cooperation so he does not face difficulties that would threaten his rule."

The interest, says Professor Inbar, is common, but there are those who need the coordination more. "There is a common interest. We want peace and that the PA will deal with its citizens and as little as chaos as possible, but in the end, their interest – which is maintaining their rule – is greater."

Asked whether Abbas could dismantle the Palestinian Authority in the wake of Israel’s sovereignty plans, he replied, "This possibility exists, but the chances of it being realized are small. They have already threatened several times to 'go home' and leave us the PA. It has not happened until now. After all, the PA is their biggest achievement and before that they were in 'exile'. They will not give it up easily."

"Abbas has issues of legitimacy within his own people and he talks tough against Israel every time and it is popular. He also tries to mobilize global public opinion and scare the Israeli left. There is an assessment that he can tolerate such a move of sovereignty – based on past experience. The likelihood that they will continue to act reasonably is great, but as we know the Palestinians, they do not always care about their interests. Because if that were the case, they would have had an arrangement with Israel long ago."

"There is a chance for irrational behavior on their part because they want to hurt Israel more than to take care of themselves. Even if they break the rules, they will obviously suffer more. Israel will face some security problems that it can certainly deal with," Prof. Inbar concluded.