Palestine announces end of all agreements with the United States and Israel

Tension has risen with Tel Aviv's announcement of the annexation of part of the occupied West Bank
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas leads a meeting of leaders at Ramallah city hall on Tuesday, 19 May 2020

AP/ALAA BADARNEH  -   Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas leads a meeting of leaders at Ramallah city hall on Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared an end to all agreements with Israel and the United States and stated that the Israeli state, as an occupying power, is responsible for the territories it occupies. The declarations come at a time of tension, with the advance of Israeli plans to annex part of the occupied West Bank territory, a possibility contemplated by the peace plan proposed by Washington last January. The one called by the American president Donald Trump as the Century Agreement.

"The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the State of Palestine are absolved from today of all agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and all the obligations contemplated in these, including those of security", according to the presidential decision, published by the state agency Wafa.

Abbas urges Israel to assume its obligations as an occupying power "with all the consequences and repercussions based on international and humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention". This, he recalls, establishes responsibilities for the security of the occupied civilian population and their property, vetoes collective punishment, theft of resources, annexation of land and population transfers from the occupier to the occupied, "which constitute grave violations and war crimes".

The Palestinian president reiterates his rejection of the U.S. peace proposal and condemns its decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as the Israeli capital, contrary to the until recently international consensus. And he insists on his support for an independent, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, "a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution". A formula that has been demanded on many occasions by various international actors as a possible solution to the conflict between Jews and Palestinians. 

This Monday, the European Union (EU) urged the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to comply with international law and avoid any unilateral action that would lead to the annexation of more Palestinian territories. "We strongly urge Israel to avoid any unilateral decision that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory and that would, as such, be contrary to international law," EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell said in a statement. 

Fotografía de archivo, el primer ministro de Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, visita la zona donde se construirá un nuevo barrio en el asentamiento de Har Homa en Jerusalén oriental, el 20 de febrero de 2020
PHOTO/AP - Archival photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the area where a new neighborhood will be built in the Har Homa settlement in East Jerusalem, February 20th, 2020

The controversial peace plan for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians presented by the Trump Administration proposed the establishment of a Palestinian state, but with limited sovereignty, the annexation of part of the occupied West Bank and a Palestinian capital in a small, peripheral area of East Jerusalem. The main thrust of the proposal was to establish Palestinian enclaves with limited capacity for independence, located between Israeli settlements, under the promise of stopping the construction of new Jewish settler settlements in the West Bank. In addition, it provided for Israel to keep the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem and its holy sites, giving Palestinians the possibility of locating the capital of what would be their new State in a special area of the Holy City between Abu Dis and the eastern part of Shuafat, areas already segregated by a concrete wall. In this way, the ultimate Palestinian aspiration would be to move its capital city and the seats of its official institutions to the periphery of East Jerusalem. 

Asentamiento de Ma'ale Efraim, en las colinas del Valle del Jordán
AP/ARIEL SCHALIT - Ma'ale Efraim Settlement in the Jordan Valley Hills

The White House plan also called on the Palestinian leadership to renounce the claim to the territories that Israel annexed after the 1948 conflict, making it clear that no Palestinian refugee will be granted the right to return to Israeli territory. 

On the other hand, the Palestinians were also required to establish a reliable administration and financial system, since Donald Trump's offer included a line of money for investment in Palestinian land when the new state was established. An amount of some $50 billion was included for the implementation of what would be the new Palestine. This was considered by the American president as a great asset to convince the Palestinians. 

Un  israelí sostiene su bandera nacional durante una protesta cerca del mayor asentamiento judío de Maale Adumim, al este de Jerusalén
PHOTO/AFP - An Israeli holds his national flag during a protest near the largest Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem

With all these conditions and limitations, came the negative reaction of the entire Arab community and part of the international community. Now, Palestine has reached the point of putting an end to all agreements with the US and Israel, showing its total disagreement about future plans, especially regarding the annexation of the occupied West Bank territory.