US to Abbas: Don’t cut security ties with Israel

Earlier this month, Abbas called an extraordinary meeting of the PNC to elect new leaders for the PLO Executive Committee, a key decision-making body.

September 9, 2015 05:05
2 minute read.
kerry abbas

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in Amman, Jordan March 26, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The US administration has warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas against suspending security coordination with Israel, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday.

The US and some European Union and Arab countries were also exerting pressure on Abbas to delay a meeting of the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council, the sources said.

Those countries fear Abbas plans to use the PNC session to announce a number of dramatic decisions that could impact relations with Israel and aggravate tensions among the PLO and Fatah leaders.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested he may announce his resignation during the PNC session. Abbas, the reports said, is also planning to get rid of several senior PLO and Fatah officials by asking the PNC to elect new members for the two groups.

Earlier this month, Abbas called for an extraordinary meeting of the PNC to elect new leaders for the PLO Executive Committee, a key decision-making body. The session is scheduled to take place on September 14 in Ramallah.

The sources said, however, that Abbas was now inclined to postpone the meeting. Several Palestinian factions have called for boycotting the session, arguing that Abbas was seeking to exploit it to settle accounts with his political rivals in the PLO and Fatah.

Sixteen out of 18 members of the PLO Executive Committee have reportedly signed a petition calling for the postponement of the PNC session until further notice.

The Americans, Europeans and Arabs fear that the planned session would plunge the Palestinian scene into anarchy because of the fierce opposition to Abbas’s actions from the factions. Many PLO and Fatah officials have also expressed opposition to convening the PNC, saying the move would deepen divisions among the Palestinians.

The London-based Rai al-Youm online newspaper said that the American, European and Arab pressure has already prompted Abbas to delay the PNC meeting. It said he has instructed his aides to make it look as if the PLO leadership has requested the postponement of the PNC session.

According to the report, the Gulf countries, Jordan and Egypt have asked Abbas to backtrack on his decision to convene the PNC. The Gulf countries are busy with the Yemen crisis, while Egypt is preparing to hold parliamentary elections, the report added.

Abbas is set to meet in Cairo on Wednesday with Egyptian President Abed Fattah al-Sisi to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories and the controversy surrounding the planned PNC session.

The newspaper said that these Arab countries have threatened to “close their doors in front of Abbas” if he did not backtrack.

It said that the US administration has even threatened to suspend financial aid to the PA if Abbas insisted on proceeding with his plans. US Secretary of State John Kerry recently phoned Abbas and told him that Washington does not to see any changes in the Arab arena out of fear that this could have an impact on the situation in the region in general and on Israel in particular.

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