The PLO’s council in Ramallah voted to cut its ties with Israel unless it recognized the state of Palestine at the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
“The [PLO] is making a mistake.
It’s worrisome that Ramallah is going in this direction,” Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon told Army Radio on Tuesday.
“Over the last year, Ramallah has become more and more extreme, and is torpedoing any chance of an agreement,” Kahlon said.
Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid called it a “bad joke.”
“For all we care, they can decide not to recognize the sun, the invention of the wheel and gravity,” Lapid said.
“We established a glorious state with our own hands without asking anyone. We will continue to build strong and safe Israel, and when the Palestinians decide to recognize reality they are more than welcome to give us a call.”
The PLO said that a committee will now be created to examine the recommendation, which would also need the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The council wants to cease compliance with the 1993 Oslo Accord, which set out a transitionary phase during which the Palestinians would move toward statehood.
The council has declared that this temporary phase, which was intended to last for five to seven years, is over. It insisted that Palestinian statehood must be recognized now.
Formal adoption of the PLO Central Council’s recommendation would bring the Oslo Accord to an end.
It’s the second time this year that the PLO has issued such a declaration, having done so in January as well. The twin decisions speak of the frustration of Fatah and the PLO with the swift changes the Trump Administration has wrought with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinian cause is more in need now than it was in January of a grand gesture to gain attention.
A council statement posted on the Wafa News Agency site said, ”In view of Israel’s continued denial of the signed agreements, the PCC (PLO Central Council), in confirmation of its previous decision and considering that the transitional phase no longer exists, decides to end the commitments of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority towards its agreements with the occupying power, suspend recognition of the state of Israel until its recognition of the state of Palestine on the June 4, 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, end security coordination in all its forms, and disengage economically from Israel on the grounds that the transitional phase, including the Paris Economic Protocols no longer exist.”
The move comes as relations between the United States and the Palestinian Authority are at an all time low, with the Trump Administration’s decisions to close the PA’s representative office in Washington, DC and its pseudo embassy to the PA, the Consulate General in Jerusalem.
The Trump Administration has also cut its financial assistance to the PA and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
US President Donald Trump is expected to unveil a peace plan in the coming months. The PA has already publicly rejected the plan, even before it has been presented to it.
The PLO’s dramatic statement also comes as Egypt, the UN and Israel have bypassed the PA in hopes of reaching an understanding or long-term truce with Hamas in Gaza that would put an end to the rocket fire and border violence.
Egypt and the UN have pressured Abbas to halt the severe sanctions he has imposed on the Gaza Strip, including cutting funding for fuel and the cessation of salary payments, in hopes of forcing Hamas to end its 11-year rule of the enclave.
In its statement Monday, the PLO said only its representatives and not Hamas, were authorized to negotiate a deal to end the Gaza violence with Israel.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded to the PLO’s announcement by stating: “The Palestinians have never been serious about recognizing Israel. They have always been planning to destroy Israel piece by piece, and throw the Jews out of our land.
“The charade has ended. They have shown their true colors – the Palestinians are not interested in peace, and never have been.”