Abbas (center) arrives at the UN in February. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority considers itself free of all agreements and understandings with both Israel and the U.S. — including on security matters — because of Israel's annexation plans.
Why it matters: Abbas appears now to be following through on a drastic threat he had made previously, though it remains to be seen if and how his statement will be implemented.
"The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones."— Mahmoud Abbas
Abbas' remarks came in a speech at an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership to discuss the new Israeli government’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
- Abbas said that, as the occupying power, Israel should now take the responsibility over the West Bank.
- Abbas stressed that the Israeli plan to move ahead on annexation is a unilateral cancellation of the Oslo Accords, signed in the 1990s.
- Abbas said the Trump administration was responsible for the crisis, and “has become complicit in the Israeli occupation." He praised “other American stakeholders” that are more supportive of the Palestinians.
- Abbas called on all the countries who are opposed to annexation and Trump's peace plan to recognize Palestine as a state.
The backdrop: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his swearing-in ceremony on Sunday that now is the time for Israel to annex its settlements in the West Bank.
- Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, has been lobbying Trump administration officials to offer a green light on annexation before November's election, fearing the window of opportunity will close if Joe Biden wins.