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Palestinian Authority vows to end security cooperation with Israel amid growing tensions

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attends a Christmas midnight mass in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Dec. 25, 2022. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Pool via REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority vowed on Saturday to halt security cooperation with Israel following Israel’s attempted arrest of a Jenin-based terror cell Thursday that devolved into a fatal firefight. 

While Israel dealt with the blow of multiple terror attacks this weekend, including Friday night’s deadly shooting at the Neve Yaakov synagogue by an Palestinian who killed seven Jews and injured three others, the P.A. nevertheless condemned Israel for the arrest of the Islamic Jihad cell in Jenin. 

Nine Palestinians, mostly armed terrorists who fired upon Israeli security forces coming to arrest the Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell, were killed during the Israeli military operation

While Israel had forewarned the P.A. of the Jenin arrest, the P.A. stated in comments to the United States and the European Union that they would not be able to reverse its decision to end security cooperation with Israel. 

The Palestinian Authority has limited control over the Jenin area, which has become a hub of growing anti-Israel terrorism and lawlessness in the West Bank. 

“The Palestinian leadership affirmed the continuation of implementing the decisions it took during its meeting last Thursday, and it will continue to work with international and Arab parties to provide support and protection for the Palestinian people,” said the P.A., following a meeting in Ramallah. 

The P.A. justified its position to cool security ties by falsely accusing Israel of “colonial settlement actions, policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and the assaults on Islamic and Christian holy sites.”

“These policies are a result of the Israeli occupation government’s evasion of its commitment to implement the signed agreements and its violation of the resolutions of international legitimacy,” added the P.A. 

The Mahmoud Abbas-led P.A. regime also blamed Israel for the recent escalation of violence in the region. 

“The Palestinian leadership holds the Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the dangerous escalation that the situation has reached due to its crimes, which amounted to 31 martyrs during the current month,” said the P.A.’s Security Council, according to WAFA, the P.A.’s official news agency. 

The Islamic term shaheed [“martyr”] is a reference to Muslims who die while waging jihad [holy war] against Jews and other non-Muslims. The majority of Arabs killed by Israeli forces have been armed terrorists, including during this year’s Operation Break the Wave. 

Some Arab civilians have been caught in the crossfire between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli soldiers. 

Under the signed agreements between Jerusalem and Ramallah, the P.A. is responsible for law and order in areas under its jurisdiction. However, Ramallah’s inability or unwillingness to stop growing terrorism in these areas has forced Israel to increase its anti-terror operations. 

In addition, according to the agreements, the Abbas regime must refrain from inciting or financing terrorism against Israel and Jews. However, it does both.

P.A.-controlled media is replete with extreme anti-Semitic content and Ramallah’s pay-for-slay policy violates signed agreements by incentivizing the murder of Israelis. 

For instance, the P.A. praised the infamous female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi as a “role model” for Palestinians in the disputed territories of the West Bank. In 1978, Mughrabi and other Arab terrorists as a group murdered 37 Israeli Jewish civilians, including 12 children. 

Ramallah also has a policy of naming roads, squares, sports events among other things, after terrorists who murdered Jews. 

Some observers argue that the security cooperation between Israel and the P.A. is mutually beneficial, reportedly reducing the number of anti-Israel terrorist attacks and preventing the Abbas-regime from being replaced by its political rival, Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization primarily based in Gaza. However, cooperation with Israeli authorities is very unpopular among local Arabs who usually view the P.A. as “collaborators.” 

Speaking to the media in Washington, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf stressed that the Biden administration does not believe that Ramallah’s latest decision “is the right step to take at this moment.”

“Far from stepping back on security coordination, we believe it’s quite important that the parties retain – and, if anything, deepen – security coordination,” Leaf said.

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