Palestinians angered by PA's restoration of Israel security agreement
Palestinian activists have reacted with anger to the Palestinian Authority official's announcement late Tuesday that it will resume security coordination with Israel.
PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussain Al-Sheikh lavished praise on President Mahmoud Abbas for the latter's efforts in shoring key international support to block Israeli plans to annex large parts of the West Bank.
He said this was galvanised by Abbas' moves to suspend ties with Israel in May
Al-Sheikh went onto claim that he had formally written to the Israeli government demanding clarification on whether it upheld various international agreements brokered with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), something which he said triggered "long discussions" within the Knesset.
He added that the PA received a response in which Israel "affirmed its commitment" to all agreements, which he described as a "breakthrough" and "victory" for the Palestinian people and the "first of its kind" to be issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing administration.
The senior Palestinian official and close aide to President Abbas also came out on Twitter to announce that the relationship with Israel would "return to how it was" following "official written and oral letters" the PA had received confirming Israel's commitment to the agreements.
In May, Abbas said that his government was no longer bound by "all its agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments, and all its obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including those relating to security".
The decision to cut ties had a broad impact, including on the transfer of Palestinian patients to Israeli hospitals, and cutting the PA's access to millions of dollars in taxes - in particular customs duties - which Israel collects on its behalf.
Deprived of this income, the PA was forced to reduce the salaries of civil servants, even as the Palestinian economy grappled with the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although reestablishing ties with Israel is likely to provide some financial relief to the PA, the move has also drawn widespread criticism from Palestinian activists who say it bows to Israeli pressure.
"Husain Al-Shaikh, your words, hints and clarifications were all lies. Your 'victories' are a humiliation. You ought to dedicate them to Mahmoud Abbas, the king of pathetic, delusional victories – someone whose worth will never come close to our great people," wrote Osama Abu-Arab.
"The scraps Husain Al-Sheikh received from an Israeli press officer weren't worth the paper they were written on. And he calls it a 'victory'," tweeted prominent Palestinian lawyer Ramy Abdu
"Security coordination with the Zionist enemy is no different to normalising ties. Both are betrayal and both are a poison dagger shove deep into the future of our people and our cause," wrote humanitarian activist and international relations PhD student Adham Abu Salmiyeh
Reem Omari, a Palestinian journalist, questioned precisely which "agreements" Israel clarified they would uphold.
"The agreements which stop them raiding us? Or the agreements which force them to leave the areas occupied since 1967? Or those which stop settlement activity?”
Responding to the economic impact of wage cuts on PA civil servants, she added:
"I salute the worker who spent six months suffering cluelessly as their debts rose sky high, while enduring and keeping hush because the nation was more important than money."
Agencies contributed to this report.