Kids with posters of PA President Mahmoud Abbas 311 (R).
(photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini/Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority is worried that Israel might take measures to
undermine President Mahmoud Abbas or restrict his movement, as was the case with
his predecessor Yasser Arafat.
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An Israeli official told The Jerusalem
Post that he was not aware of any plans to take action against
Over the weekend, the PA leadership sent urgent letters to members
of the UN Security Council and to various countries expressing concern over
recent statements made by Israeli government officials against Abbas.
PA is particularly worried about remarks made by Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman last week in which he said that Abbas was an obstacle to
The PA leadership is convinced that Lieberman’s remarks against
Abbas reflected the views of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a majority of
his cabinet ministers.
The PA is concerned that the remarks are designed
to pave the way for Israeli military action against Abbas and his top aides. PA
officials said they did not rule out the possibility that Israel may confine
Abbas to his headquarters in Ramallah and prevent him from traveling
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, who sent the letters on behalf
of the PA leadership, said that there was a “real threat” to Abbas’s life in
wake of the Israeli “incitement.”
The government last week took punitive
steps against the PA such as temporarily suspending the transfer of tax funds.
It is also weighing other measures against the PA, such as suspending the
special passes that Palestinian officials use to pass easily through IDF
checkpoints in the West Bank.
The government also authorized the
construction of 1,650 homes in east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods and 327 homes
in two West Bank settlements — Efrat and Ma’aleh Adumim.
PA has decided to review its entire strategy toward Israel in light of the
continued stalemate in the peace process.
A joint PLO-Fatah committee has
been formed by Abbas to reassess relations with Israel and to come up with a new
Palestinian strategy vis-à-vis the peace process, said Muhammad Shtayyeh, a
senior Fatah official and adviser to Abbas.
Shtayyeh said that the
committee would also discuss the future of the PA amid reports that Abbas was
considering dissolving the PA if the Security Council does not approve his
application for full membership of a Palestinian state in the UN.
committee will try to complete its work before Friday, November 11, when the
Security Council is expected to decide on Abbas’s statehood bid.
Palestinian leadership is laying a new strategy that would be endorsed after
November 11,” Shtayyeh told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. “The
Palestinian Authority is about to end the status quo and reformulate its
relations with Israel.”
Shtayyeh denied that the new Palestinian strategy
would be based on dissolving the PA. However, he hinted that Abbas might end the
Fatah-Hamas dispute and form a unity government with the Islamist
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.