Palestinian Authority resuming cooperation with Israel, Palestinian official says

By Ali Sawafta RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority will resume civil and security cooperation with Israel suspended in May over a now-frozen Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian minister said on Tuesday. Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter that 'the relationship with Israel will return to how it was' after President Mahmoud Abbas received confirmation that Israel remained committed to past agreements with the Palestinians. Interim peace accords signed in the 1990s envisaged the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Reuters November 18, 2020 01:11:13 IST
Palestinian Authority resuming cooperation with Israel, Palestinian official says

Palestinian Authority resuming cooperation with Israel Palestinian official says

By Ali Sawafta

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority will resume civil and security cooperation with Israel suspended in May over a now-frozen Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian minister said on Tuesday.

Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter that "the relationship with Israel will return to how it was" after President Mahmoud Abbas received confirmation that Israel remained committed to past agreements with the Palestinians.

Interim peace accords signed in the 1990s envisaged the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Suspending cooperation with Israel six months ago, the Palestinians said its annexation plans in the West Bank, territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war, would make a two-state solution impossible.

Renewed Israeli-Palestinian ties could open the way for the payment of some 3 billion shekels ($890 million) in tax transfers that Israel has been withholding from the Authority, whose economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel collects the levies on Palestinian imports that go through its ports.

In a Zoom video conference organised by the Council on Foreign Relations, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the decision to resume contacts with Israel was based in part on confronting the health crisis.

Between the hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers who live in the West Bank, and the tens of thousands of Palestinian workers who commute to Israel daily for work, coordination was needed to help prevent the virus's spread, Shtayyeh said.

"Our life is so interconnected between us and the Israelis, and there is no way that we can fight viruses by ourselves only," he said.

Palestinian sources said cooperation with Israel would resume immediately. An Israeli official said "we are very close" to renewing coordination, citing exchanges of messages between Israel's defence minister and Palestinian authorities.

"One thing that certainly helped the Palestinians (reach their decision) was (Joe) Biden's election (as U.S. president), which gave them ... an excuse to climb down from the tree," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate word on whether the Palestinians would resume contacts with the Trump administration that were severed in protest at what they viewed as a policy biased towards Israel.

But a deal establishing formal relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in August led to Israel suspending annexation moves, smoothing the way towards renewed contacts with Israel.

In Gaza, however, the ruling Islamist group Hamas condemned the rival West Bank-based Palestinian Authority’s decision as a "stab against efforts to achieve a real national partnership".

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Rami Ayyub and Dan Williams, Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Alex Richardson and Giles Elgood)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.