The Palestinian Authority (PA) resumed security and civil coordination with Israel on Tuesday, six months after PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced the cessation of ties with the Jewish state over its now-deferred intentions to apply sovereignty over West Bank territories.
Hussein al-Sheikh, who has been serving as the head of the PA's General Authority of Civil Affairs since 2013, said that ties were reignited once Israel signaled to the Palestinians it was willing to return to the status quo ante.
"Against the background of the contacts made by President [Mahmoud Abbas] regarding Israel's commitment to the agreements signed with us, and based on the written official messages we received, which prove Israel's commitment to this, relations with Israel will be renewed as were," al-Sheikh said.
Israel and the Palestinians resumed contacts to relaunch relations in recent weeks, the Israeli side led by the military liaison to the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, and the Palestinian side led by Hussein a-Sheikh and other senior officials.
The Palestinians have launched a letter to Israel regarding their renewed commitment to the previous agreements, and Maj. Gen. Abu Rokon will continue to lead the talks until the parties put ink on an official agreement.
Since the PA broke off contacts with the Jewish state in May, Ramallah has refused to accept taxes Jerusalem collected on its behalf, bleeding the authority's coffers dry and warranting painful pay cuts for tens of thousands of Palestinian government officials.
In addition, the PA refused to accept any Israeli assistance in dealing with its battle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new state of affairs between Israel and the Palestinians comes following Joe Biden's projected victory over incumbent President Donald Trump in the U.S. election.
The veteran Democrat politician is expected to turn away from the Republican president's policies, which the Palestinians deem hawkish, and promote a similar approach to the one led by Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, in whose administration Biden served as vice president.
The move comes as the main Palestinian factions – the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which rules the West Bank and the hardline Islamist Hamas terror group which rules the Gaza Strip – hold reconciliation talks in Cairo, Egypt and could lead to the breakdown of negotiations.
Israeli officials welcomed the PA's announcement and said that representatives from both sides will meet soon.
"We have been working on this for several weeks now," they said. "Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent very clear messages to the Palestinians during his meetings with EU ambassadors that he wants the coordination to resume. There were also covert ties between COGAT and his Palestinian counterparts."
Hamas strongly denounced the announcement, saying that "The [Palestinain] Authority has with this step thrown aside all its values and national principles, and the result of the historical meeting between Hamas and Fatah's leadership."
The terror group also called on Ramallah to go back on its announcement, saying that "the only thing that will liberate our lands, defend our rights and expel the occupation is true national solidarity."
First published: 19:40, 11.17.20