A Palestinian official says that Mahmoud Abbas’ security forces should stop working with Israel. Bassam Al Salhi, a member of the Palestinian parliament, says the “one sided security cooperation where the Palestinians have to do their part and the Israelis do nothing,” should end.
He says this issue needs to be discussed at the highest level. “I don’t think there is a need for the Palestinians to continue in this commitment when the Israelis do not respect their commitments,” he told The Media Line. His statements came following the discovery of the body of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, 16, in the Jerusalem forest.
Palestinians say they are convinced that the teenager, from the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem, was killed by Israelis in revenge for the killing of three Israeli teenagers who were buried after being found dead on Monday.
Israeli officials said it was not clear yet whether he was killed by Israelis or as part of a domestic dispute, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a full investigation, also condemning the killing as a “despicable act.”
Al Salhi insists that Israel used the kidnapping of the three teenagers as a pretext to try to break the recently formed national unity government, between Abbas’s Fatah and the Islamist Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip. The government, which has been recognized by the US, is meant to pave the way to Palestinian election.
Al Salhi says that Abbas is committed to the new unity government.
“Just yesterday, there was a meeting with the Palestinian factions and the leadership and Abbas decided to continue our commitment to reconciliation,” he said.
But political and security analyst Dr. Hani Al Basoos is not convinced the unity government will last. Although both Hamas and Fatah want it to succeed, Israel did not want a unity deal “from the get go.” As an example, Israel did not allow the incoming government ministers from Gaza to travel to Ramallah to be sworn in by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“They want to weaken Palestinian society, divide the Palestinian political system, wipe out Hamas from the Palestinian political scene and they want to eliminate any chance for the Palestinian people to be united,” Al Basoos, who is also an associate professor of political science at the Islamic University in Gaza told The Media Line.
Al Basoos shares Al Salhi’s sentiments regarding the Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation with Israel, in which Palestinians are helping Israel search for the kidnappers.
“This cooperation is an unequal bargain which harms Palestinians more than benefits it,” he said. “The Palestinian security forces are doing their best to support the Israeli security forces, but they are not doing their best to safeguard the Palestinian society.”
He goes on to say that the Israel’s 1993 agreement that established the Palestinian Authority has only helped Israel.
“The Palestinian security forces were doing nothing except for withdrawing from the Palestinian cities to allow the Israelis to come in and make arrests,” Al Basoos said.
He warned that the current tensions could spiral out of control.
“It could lead to more escalation, more violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he said. “Both sides will pay the price.” He said the international community needs to stop the violence.
“This situation might lead to a new Palestinian intifada (uprising) and might result in harsh consequences on the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation forces,” Dr. Al Basoos said.
He also says Abbas is facing his most serious crisis since he came to office in 2005. “This is the most difficult time Abu Mazen (nickname for Mahmoud Abbas), is facing in terms of the peace process and the security situation.”
Article by Abdullah H. Erakat
Reprinted with permission from The Media Line