Palestinians slam cabinet for meeting in Jordan Valley

The PLO Executive Committee expressed support for suspending all signed agreements with Israel.

September 15, 2019 23:22
3 minute read.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/ZOUBEIR SOUISSI)

The Palestinians condemned the Israeli government on Sunday for holding its weekly cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley, and accused it of “undermining any chance for achieving a just and everlasting peace based on international legitimacy and the two-state solution.”

“We reject and condemn this action,” said Palestinian Authority presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh, adding that convening the cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley “will not give any legitimacy to settlements built on the 1967 lands of the State of Palestine, including Jerusalem.”

The cabinet approved a new settlement during a rare meeting in the Jordan Valley.

“We will apply sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea as soon as the next government is established in the next Knesset,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting. Ministers at the meeting also issued a rare approval of a new settlement, Mevo’ot Yericho.

Abu Rudaineh said the Netanyahu government was “determined to proceed with undermining any chance for achieving a just and everlasting peace with its settlement policy.” He also said that holding the weekly cabinet meeting “on our occupied land is in violation of international legitimacy and law,” adding that “all settlements established on the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, are illegal. No one can grant it legitimacy because this would violate UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Therefore, it is destined to end, as the occupation will end.”

Adopted on December 23, 2016, resolution 2334 “condemns all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”

The PA spokesperson called on the international community to immediately intervene to “stop the Israeli madness, which is destroying all the foundations of the political process.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians are the only ones entitled to make decisions concerning their land, he said.

The PLO Executive Committee, meanwhile, expressed support for suspending all signed agreements with Israel. The committee said that Netanyahu’s recent announcement of applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea “reflects the strategy of the Israeli government.”

Abbas said last week that the Palestinians will halt work related to all signed agreements with Israel if Netanyahu implements his plan regarding the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea. Abbas made a similar threat last July, when he announced that the PA leadership has decided to set up a special committee to study mechanisms for suspending all agreements with Israel.

Abbas’s critics have voiced skepticism over his announcement, pointing out that the PA leadership has never implemented previous threats to suspend agreements with Israel, revoke Palestinian recognition of Israel, and halt security coordination between the PA security forces and the IDF in the West Bank.

The PLO committee held the Netanyahu government responsible for the “ending the track of peace,” and said that the PA will continue to take practical measures to transform itself into a state and gradually abandon all agreements signed with Israel.

The PA Foreign Ministry in Ramallah also strongly denounced the Israeli government for its “hysterical” settlement policy, particularly the talk about extending Israeli sovereignty to Area C of the West Bank.

The ministry urged the international community to pay attention to Israel’s “open war to devour these territories and impose facts to change the historical and legal reality in the occupied West Bank.” It claimed that the Israeli government was engaged in a “hysterical race against time to implement the largest annexation of Palestinian territories in Area C.”

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