Photo Credit: Flash90
Mahmoud Abbas arrives at a meeting of the PLO leadership in Ramallah, May 7, 2020.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday declared an end to the agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the United States and turned over responsibility over the liberated territories back to Israel.

“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,” Abbas declared at an emergency meeting for the Palestinian leadership held in Ramallah to discuss Israeli plans to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.

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“The Israeli occupation authority, as of today, has to shoulder all responsibilities and obligations in front of the international community as an occupying power over the territory of the occupied state of Palestine, with all its consequences and repercussions based on international law and international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which holds the occupying power responsible for the protection of the civilian population under occupation and their property, criminalizes collective punishment, bans theft of resources, appropriation and annexation of land, bans forced transfer of the population of the occupied territory and bans transfer of the population of the occupying state to the land it occupies, which all are grave violations and war crimes,” Abbas said.

Let’s unpack: Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention deals with deportations, transfers and evacuations in an “occupied territory.” But in order for a territory to be occupied, it must by taken by force from its previous owner. But the “west bank” of the Jordan river was not the legitimate property of any government since it had been abandoned on May 15, 1948 by the British government. The entire area which used to be controlled by Great Britain effectively became a no man’s land. Israel, in keeping with UN resolution 181, declared its ownership of part of the land – which was recognized by a majority of the UN member countries. Jordan, which maintained military control over the “west bank,” never received broad international recognition of its rights there, and so, when the IDF invaded the area, on June 9, 1967, it was obtaining a no man’s land.

Also: Article 49 talks about the “occupying power” moving by force its civilians to settle them on the defeated country’s lands. But in Israel’s case, most of the moving was done through private enterprises, often against the will of the government.

Still, Chairman Abbas appears to be inviting Israel to take over his territory – not for the first time. Back when the world still cared about the “Palestinians,” it would make some noise when the aging dictator made these grand statements. Now, since no one in the region gives a hoot, it might be time to take him at his word.

Israeli soldiers liberating the Temple Mount in 1967 / IDF

Here’s what Abbas said Tuesday night (feel free to skip the “whereas” part with the yellow background — DI): “In light of the provisions of the Israeli government coalition agreement, which stated that ‘the Prime Minister will be able to bring the agreement that was reached with the United States on applying sovereignty starting on 1 July 2020 to the Cabinet and the Knesset,’ and the speech of the Prime Minister of the occupation government at the Knesset the day before yesterday, which did not include anything about commitment to the signed agreements, but rather asserting the application of Israeli sovereignty on the Israeli colonies in the Palestinian territories;

“And as the prime minister of the occupation government has repeated this declaration on the first day of the cabinet meeting, considering that the annexation is a priority to this government, which means annexing parts of the territory of the state of Palestine to the occupation state based on the so-called ‘deal of the century,’ which we reject in total, which means that the occupation authority has annulled the Oslo agreement and all agreements signed with it, after snubbing all these years all these agreements and all the resolutions of the international legitimacy and international law;

“And after the American administration has recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel and moved its embassy there, then its publication of the ‘deal of the century,’ which set the base for the Israeli annexation declaration, which is a blatant violation of the resolutions of the international legitimacy and international law, in addition to its support for settlements and Israeli colonial occupation of the territory of the state of Palestine;

“And in light of our unqualified belief and firm adherence to the right of our people to continue in their national struggle to end the occupation and establish the independent, contiguous and sovereign state of Palestine on the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, solve the refugee issue based on the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant resolutions of the international legitimacy, and release of the Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and detention centers;

“And as we are interested in achieving a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution, as came in the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of the international legitimacy, particularly Security Council resolution 1515 regarding adopting the Arab Peace Initiative, resolution 2334 on Jerusalem and settlements, UN resolution 194 on refugees, and UN General Assembly resolution 19/67 on the membership of the state of Palestine in it;

“And abiding by the decisions of the National Council and Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian leadership has today decided the following:

“First, 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 commitments based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones;

Palestinian National Security Forces on parade, December 18, 2018. / Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90

“Second, the Israeli occupation authority, as of today, has to shoulder all responsibilities and obligations in front of the international community as an occupying power over the territory of the occupied state of Palestine, with all its consequences and repercussions based on international law and international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which holds the occupying power responsible for the protection of the civilian population under occupation and their property, criminalizes collective punishment, bans theft of resources, appropriation and annexation of land, bans forced transfer of the population of the occupied territory and bans transfer of the population of the occupying state (the colonialists) to the land it occupies, which all are grave violations and war crimes.

“Third: We hold the American administration fully responsible for the oppression befalling the Palestinian people and we consider it a primary partner with the Israeli occupation government in all its aggressive and unfair decisions and measures against our people. Yet we welcome all the positions of the other American parties that rejected the policies of this administration that are hostile to our people and their legitimate rights.

“Fourth: We will complete today signing agreements for the state of Palestine to accede to international agreements and conventions that we have not yet joined (they were not allowed to join any international agreements and conventions under Oslo, so who’s getting excited over this one? – DI).

“Fifth: We reaffirm our commitment to the international legitimacy and the relevant Arab, Islamic and regional resolutions, which we are part of, and we reiterate our firm commitment to fighting international terrorism regardless of its shape or source (OK, that’s funny, you must agree that the old head of the world’s most violent terrorist group has not lost his sense of humor – DI).

“Sixth: We reaffirm our commitment to a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution, with our readiness to accept the presence of a third party on the borders between them, on the condition that negotiations will be held to achieve that under international auspices (the International Quartet plus) and through an international peace conference based on international legitimacy.

“Seventh: We call on world countries that have rejected the deal of the century and American and Israeli policies and their measures that violate international legitimacy and agreements signed with it to not be satisfied with rejection and condemnation but to take deterrent steps and impose serious sanctions to prevent the Israeli occupation state from implementing its schemes and its continuing denial of the rights of our people. We call on those that did not yet recognize the state of Palestine to quickly recognize it to protect peace, international legitimacy and international law, and to implement the Security Council resolutions on providing international protection to our people in their occupied state.

“We will continue to pursue the occupation for its crimes against our people at all international authorities and courts. In this context, we affirm our confidence in the independence and integrity of the International Criminal Court (Probably not going to happen – DI).

“Eighth: We reiterate our salute to all our people at home and in the Diaspora for their patience, steadfastness, struggle and support of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. We vow to our martyrs and heroic prisoners and wounded that we will remain loyal to the oath until victory, freedom, independence and return, to raise together the flag of Palestine over Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in our Jerusalem, the eternal capital of our Palestinian state.”

Of course, none of the above will take place. The cooperation between the PA security forces and Israel will continue, because it serves the interests of the PLO government in Ramallah, which without the support of the IDF in daily raids, would have been toppled by Hamas long ago. Also – there will be no sovereignty, PM Netanyahu never intended to apply it and his coalition partners are opposed to it.

So, unfortunately, nothing will happen as a result of the Abbas speech, other than the continued repression of PA Arabs under his boot. But we thought you needed to be updated.

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