May 19, 2020 - World

Palestinian president says all agreements with U.S. and Israel void due to annexation plans

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.

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.

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Minneapolis has agreed to ban the use of police chokeholds and will require nearby officers to act to stop them in the wake of George Floyd's death, AP reports.

Why it matters: The agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which has launched an investigation into Floyd's death while in police custody, will be enforceable in court.