Mahmoud Abbas, the de facto leader of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, has told Israeli journalists and business people that his collaboration with Israeli occupation forces is “sacred” and would continue even if the PA forms a “government” backed by the Palestinian military resistance organization Hamas.
“The security relationship … and I say it on air, security coordination is sacred, is sacred. And we’ll continue it whether we disagree or agree over policy,” Abbas told about 300 visiting Israelis at his headquarters in Ramallah this week.
Abbas can be seen making his remarks in the video above, published by Al-Quds newspaper.
Known euphemistically as “security coordination,” US-financed PA intelligence and security forces work closely with Israeli occupation forces and Shin Bet secret police to suppress any Palestinian resistance to occupation.
The “IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and the Shin Bet now highly appreciate” Abbas’ ongoing work with them, Indyk said at an Israel lobby think tank in Washington earlier this month.
This is not the first time Abbas has publicly committed himself to fighting against Palestinians.
In 2012, he pleaded with a visiting Israel lobby delegation to help him secure weapons from Israel to stop resistance, which, using Israeli and American terminology, he termed “terrorism.”
“If they help me to get weapons, I’m helping them because I’m promoting security,” Abbas said of the Israelis.
His latest remarks about “security coordination” are likely to be an embarrassment even to members of his Fatah faction.
In an apparent attempt to dissociate the movement from Abbas’ comments, Omar Hroub, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arabs 48 that Abbas was speaking in his capacity as “president” of the “State of Palestine.”
In his remarks this week, Abbas also praised the 1993 Oslo accords, now widely viewed by Palestinians as a catastrophe that turned the Palestine Liberation Organization into a security subcontractor for the occupation while Israel has continued to relentlessly colonize Palestinian land.
“Some attacked Oslo from the start and opposed it… and I don’t know why,” Abbas said. “It was a good starting point. It was the first time we had dialogue, we sat together. It was the first time I saw my friend Shimon Peres in the White House garden.”
Abbas has caused consternation among Palestinians on a number of recent occasions, as when he renounced the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and declared his opposition to the boycott of Israel.
Resistance or collaboration?
Abbas’ refreshed commitment to working with the occupation throws into sharp relief the deep and long-standing differences and contradictions between Fatah and Hamas, which are currently negotiating over the formation of a “national unity government.”
Earlier this week, Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, de facto head of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, and the last person to be lawfully appointed as PA prime minister, told a rally in the city of Rafah that joining forces with Abbas did not mean an abandonment of resistance.
“Palestinian reconciliation aims to unite the Palestinian people against the prime enemy, the Zionist enemy,” Haniyeh said. “It aims to pursue the choice of resistance and steadfastness.”
This will undoubtedly be news to Abbas who sees uniting with the “Zionist enemy” to crush Palestinian resistance as his “sacred” duty.
Abbas’ insistence on “security coordination” with Israel has now reportedly emerged as a major last-minute stumbling block in the negotiations over the government.
Haniyeh has announced that he will step down and hand over the Gaza administration to a prime minister appointed by Abbas and a cabinet backed by Fatah and Hamas, though supposedly independent of both movements.