In an abrupt turn of events, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority declared that Palestinians are absolved from all the commitments under the Oslo peace accords. The agreement had protected Israelis and preserved the authority’s political hold over the occupied West Bank.
The NYT reported, “Mr. Abbas said his move was a response to the new Israeli government’s push to annex large portions of West Bank.” In the Israeli government many right-wing sympathizers have urged Mr. Netanyahu to “extend sovereignty over the West Bank on ideological and religious grounds, believing the Jewish state should control the entire Holy Land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.”
Many say that the recent undulation of annexation will dampen the hopes of two state-solution of the long running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is evident that Benjamin Netanyahu came to power with a campaign of annexing the Jordan Valley. But the new alternate prime minister, Benny Gantz, a former army chief, who is seen as center-left may be a hindrance to Netanyahu’s plans. Mr. Gantz holds a veto over every major decision in the government.
In the Palestinian government, the officials say that the cost of making this decision is high highlighting the security agreement with Israel that helps in day-to-day operations of the authority. The finances of authority are also generated by the Israeli government through taxation.
All these will be jeopardized with the recent declaration. Yet many believe that the cost of coexisting with annexation is extraordinarily higher. Ahmad Majdalani, the authority’s social development minister and a P.L.O. executive member said, “We will not be bystanders while Israel takes over our homeland.”
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