Abbas 'will not abolish' the Oslo Accords

Abbas 'will not abolish' the Oslo Accords
Analysis: Palestinian President Abbas has indirectly reassured Israel that he will not dissolve the Palestinian Authority or abolish the Oslo Accords, but may declare a state of Palestine under occupation.
4 min read
22 September, 2015
Abbas is unliekly to dissolve the Palestinian Authority or abolish the Oslo Accords [AFP]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has escalated his political rhetoric against Israel in the wake of the attacks on the al-Aqsa mosque compound, and following statements by senior Israeli officials that Israel could not stop Zionist and Judiasation projects in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

In order to demonstrate his intention to take steps that would change the rules of confrontation, Abbas has lately vowed, on more than one occasion, that he intended to create an "explosion" during his speech at the United Nations later this month.

Predictions over the nature of this "explosion" have varied in two directions. Some say Abbas will announce the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority (PA), while others say he will announce the abolition of the Oslo Accords.

But Abbas has responded quickly to reduce Israeli anxiety by reassuring Tel Aviv that he would precisely avoid taking steps or actions that could make drastic changes to the status quo in the West Bank. He is in no rush to form a strategic challenge to the right-wing government led by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday quoted senior European officials who said Abbas had informed them he did not intend to make either announcement during his speech to the United Nations.
One could only assume that the ruling right-wing leaders in Tel Aviv have sighed with relief after Abbas' reassurances

One could only assume that the ruling right-wing leaders in Tel Aviv have sighed with relief after Abbas' reassurances - as the commitment to keeping the PA means Israel will continue to enjoy many advantageous opportunities as an occupying force.

It will continue to control West Bank territories and vital resources, while the PA continues to be responsible for providing the Palestinians with basic necessities.

Abbas' commitment to the Oslo Accords also implies that the PA will maintain its security cooperation with Israel, a collaboration that makes it easier for Tel Aviv to continue its occupation of the West Bank.

So what will he say?

Now that Abbas has excluded the most radical ideas that could actually create a difference to the political, legal and security situation in the West Bank, the Israeli guess is that Abbas will possibly declare a state of Palestine under occupation.

Israeli Channel 2 television has reported that sources from within Netanyahu's office have said that, if Abbas makes such an announcement, its aim would be to convince Europe to strengthen boycott procedures against Israel.

This way, they added, the Palestinian leadership will be able to provide legitimacy to its diplomatic manoeuvres.

The violent repression by the PA security services of demonstrations organised by Palestinians throughout the West Bank to condemn Israeli practices against al-Aqsa mosque are also seen by Israelis to be a message from Abbas that he is interested in maintaining the status quo and does not intend to allow these recent Israeli attacks to be used as justification to upset the security environment of the West Bank.

Israeli journalist Amira Hass, a resident of Ramallah, said that the security services of the Palestinian Authority have always confronted Palestinians who organise demonstrations and marches towards Israeli army positions.

In her article on Sunday, Hass ridiculed the "allegations" made by Palestinian security services spokesperson, Adnan al-Damiri, that the police was careful not to allow any confrontations among Palestinian demonstrators and occupying troops in order to protect the demonstrators.

"It's hard on the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and its security forces to convince Palestinians on the street that they are concerned about Palestinian lives," she wrote.

However, there were no disagreements among the strategic forecasters in Tel Aviv that Abbas' scope for political manoeuvering is very limited and that he will not be able to keep the security situation calm in the West Bank.

Israeli news website Walla reported on Sunday that an Israeli Army Central Command source said it was highly possible that the security situation in the West Bank would explode because of what is happening at al-Aqsa mosque - and that the Israeli military leadership is working on its future plans based on this assumption.

What adds to Abbas' embarrassment, in the eyes of much of the Israeli media, is the fact that he can no longer take into account the US role in influencing the position of Netanyahu's government.

According to the political commentator on Channel 2, Audi Siegel, the US believes Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations can wait, as the US administration is busy building an atmosphere in which it is possible to begin to apply the Iran nuclear deal.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.