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February 3, 2020 3:16 pm

Report: IDF Thinks Abbas Will Not Follow Through on Threats to Cut All Ties With Israel

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Feb. 6, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.

The IDF does not believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will cut ties with Israel completely and end security coordination with it, as he has recently threatened to do.

On Saturday, Abbas told the Arab League that he would end all ties with the US and Israel, “including security relations,” to protest President Donald Trump’s recently-unveiled Middle East peace plan, which the Palestinian Authority has rejected.

However, the Israeli news site Mako reported on Monday that the IDF did not think the longtime PA leader would cease security coordination with Israel, and was only threatening to do so for political reasons.

In particular, the PA fears that halting security cooperation would lead to the rise of Hamas in the West Bank which could lead to the toppling of Abbas and his Fatah party — like what happened in the Gaza Strip last decade.

Israel-PA security coordination is essential to suppressing Hamas and interdicting possible terror attacks that could destabilize the region.

At the same time, Abbas is loudly threatening to end ties because he cannot be seen as being more accommodating to Israel than Hamas.

Furthermore, according to Mako, the IDF is well aware of the fact that “security relations” is in fact a blanket term for a host of civil and economic connections that are essential to the survival of the PA, such as financial assets, imports and exports, and commercial ties on which the Palestinian economy in the West Bank relies.

The movement of people and goods in and out of Palestinian areas, for example, is dependent on security coordination, as Israel controls the borders of the Palestinian areas and the crossings in and out of them, particularly with Jordan.

At the moment, security coordination remains in place, and the IDF believes the Palestinians understand that it is in their interests to keep it that way, whatever their leaders may say in public.

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