Likud Ministers Shrug Off Palestinian Threat to End Security Cooperation With Israel; Say PA Would Be ‘Shooting Itself in the Head’
Two cabinet ministers from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party shrugged off a Palestinian Authority threat to cease all security cooperation with Israel.
Ze’ev Elkin and Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio on Sunday that the PA has far more to lose through such a maneuver, with the former calling the threat “empty,” and the latter saying the PA would be “shooting itself in the head” if it actually went through with it.
Elkin, who holds the Immigrant Absorption and Jerusalem Affairs portfolios, and Steinitz, minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, were responding to an ultimatum – based on recommendations by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat – and delivered last month by heads of the PA’s intelligence and security apparatus during a meeting with Israeli officials.
According to the ultimatum, Israel Radio reported, the PA would halt its security cooperation with Israel if IDF forces continued to enter West Bank “Area A” (where the PA was granted full civil and security control in the Oslo Accords), and if Israel opposed renewing the security status spelled out in the Accords for both Areas A and B (where the PA was given civil control, but Israel and the PA were given joint security control).
In addition, Erekat’s recommendations included relinquishing the use of the shekel as currency, as part of a move to separate from the “occupation economy” and establish its own independent one.
Erekat also recommended adopting the principle of the “popular struggle;” imposing a Palestinian boycott on Israel and its products; acting to open an investigation against Israel at the International Criminal Court at the Hague; and promoting a UN Security Council resolution against the settlements.
Minister Elkin said that the PA would not make good on its threats or ultimatum, as security cooperation with Israel serves to protect President Mahmoud Abbas more than it does Israel. Minister Steinitz said that without Israeli security cooperation, the PA would be liable to collapse within a few months.
They were referring to Abbas’ purportedly precarious position within his Fatah faction and, more importantly, to keeping Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, from wresting power in the West Bank as well.