Netanyahu and Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority said Wednesday it was looking into the repercussions of Israel’s decision to cut back contacts with Palestinian officials.
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah convened an urgent meeting of the Palestinian cabinet to discuss the impact of the decision.
Hamdallah said that the PA government would work hard to “confront these challenges.” He was also referring to reports that Israel was considering additional economic sanctions against the PA in response to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to apply for membership in 15 international treaties.
Hamdallah said that the Israeli measures wouldn’t stop his government from continuing to provide services to the Palestinians.
Israeli sanctions, he said, wouldn’t undermine the Palestinians’ resolve to achieve their legitimate rights, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Hamdallah said that there was nothing new in the latest sanctions.
“These sanctions continue every day,” he said.
“They include settlement construction and the Judaization of Jerusalem, as well as house demolitions.”
Abbas, who is in Cairo to attend a meeting of the Arab League on the current crisis in the peace talks, did not respond by late Wednesday to the Israeli decision.
But Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official, denounced the decision to cut back contacts with the PA as “official terror.”
Rajoub told AFP that the PA leadership would soon discuss ways of responding to the decision. He said that one of the options would be to sever all ties with Israel.
Rajoub said that the PA leadership was now thinking of seeking international protection for the Palestinians.
Bassam al-Salhi, Secretary- General of the Palestinian People’s Party [formerly the Communist Party], said the Israeli move was a “very dangerous development.”
Salhi said that by cutting off ties with the PA , Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was trying to “close all doors leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
The Israeli decision, he continued, has exposed the “ugly face of occupation and its racist schemes.”
Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti said that senior Palestinian officials should “throw their VIP cards in the face of Israel in response to Netanyahu’s threats.”
Several Palestinian officials hold Israeli-issued VIP cards that grant them privileges denied to most Palestinians, such as entering Israel.
Barghouti said that the Israeli measures were a form of “privacy and political blackmail.”