Anger over President Trump’s lop-sided peace plan has led the Palestinian Authority to announce over the weekend that they are cutting all ties with both Israel and the United States. This includes all security cooperation.
This move was announced on Saturday by President Abbas. It was not entirely unexpected, as Palestinian officials had threatened to end the Oslo Accords over the matter. Cutting PA cooperation with Israel would certainly be the first step toward such a move.
The Palestinians see the US plan as effectively ensuring that there will never be an autonomous Palestinian state. Since the Oslo Accords were meant to manage the period leading to Palestinian statehood, many feel it no longer makes sense to maintain them.
The Oslo Accords are incredibly convenient to the Israeli occupation, as it puts the onus of security cooperation and other internal governance of Palestine on the Palestinian Authority. In the absence of the accords, Israel will have to be massively more responsible for the lives of West Bank Palestinians going forward, giving them responsibilities in keeping with other occupying powers.
Some analysts have argued that in having a role in de facto governance, but having no direct security control, the Oslo Accords situation costs the Palestinians $2.5 billion annually. The number is even higher because Israel retains control over Area C.
Israel is planning to annex some 30% of the occupied West Bank in the weeks to come. The US Ambassador to Israel has encouraged the annexations, saying Trump’s plan would give them that control, and that there is no reason to wait. On the other hand, CIA Director Gina Haspel told the Palestinians over the weekend that the US wants Israel to delay the annexation until after the March election.
Delaying annexation another month isn’t going to mean a lot to the Palestinians, and at best seems like an attempt to delay Palestinian retaliation. The Trump plan was always meant to sign off on a permanent occupation, and ensure that the Palestinians, if they are ever given nominal statehood, can never have true independence.
With the US presenting this as the Palestinians’ “last chance,” they are virtually obligating the Palestinians to do something in retaliation. While bad US plans have come and gone, this one is so objectionable to Palestinian goals they have to reject it, and not resisting risks the US trying to advance it as a de facto solution without them.