Palestinians begin withdrawing forces to end security coordination with Israel

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Palestinian Security Officer in the city of Shechem (Nablus), March 23, 2020 (Flash90 / Nasser Ishtayeh)

Palestinian Authority ordered its police to stop security coordination with Israel in protest over Netanyahu’s intention to impose Israeli sovereignty over settlements.

Palestinian police on Friday began withdrawing from positions around Jerusalem where they had been deployed as part of the security cooperation with Israel to block terrorism and prevent Hamas infiltration.

The moves came after a decision Thursday by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to end security coordination between his forces that for years has stopped dozens of terror attacks and prevented the expansion of the Hamas terror group in Judea and Samaria. Abbas and the Palestinians are furious over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to unilaterally apply sovereignty to Israeli settlements later this summer.

“Palestinian police withdrew this morning from the villages : Ayzariya, Abu Dis, Beit Iksa, Katana and Bidu in Area B as part of the implementation of Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to stop security coordination with Israel,” tweeted Yoni Ben Menachem of the Jerusalem Center for Public Diplomacy and former Palestinian Affairs correspondent for Israel Radio. “These are the forces that Israel had authorized to enter these areas.”

Israel Army Radio called the developments an “earthquake,” saying that despite dozens of similar threats over the years to end security coordination with Israel, this time the Palestinians seem to be putting the hot potato into the hands of Netanyahu’s government.

Earlier this week Abbas said the Israeli move to annex the settlements meant the Palestinians were no longer committed to any of the agreements they had signed with Israel.

There was some surprise on both counts, with Israelis having thought that the annexation idea was an election ploy by Netanyahu that would never be followed through during his emergency unity government, and surprise at the Palestinians for actually acting on what used to be a hollow threat made dozens of times over the years.

Despite the lack of peace process and the animosity of the Palestinian Authority, the two sides cooperated behind the scenes to thwart terror attacks and prevent the Hamas terror group, which runs Gaza, from making inroads in Judea and Samaria. Hamas has not hidden the fact that it despises Abbas and his Fatah organization and has designs on taking over from him like it did in the 2006 bloody military coup in which it seized power in Gaza.

(World Israel News).

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