Israeli media responded to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision on May 19 to cancel all agreements with Israel, including the so-called security coordination with a ‘yawn’, in addition to the usual anti-Palestinian rhetoric.
The Palestine Chronicle examines the views of four Israeli commentators on Abbas’s decisions. They are Israel Harel (Haaretz), Ruthie Blum (Jerusalem Post), Avi Issacharoff (The Times of Israel), and Elior Levy (YNet News).
Israel Harel (Haaretz)
Harel seems to understand Abbas’s decision entirely from the viewpoint of how it is likely to impact ‘Israel’s security’. For Harel, neither peace nor justice is a factor in his political views. He is only fixated on whether the interruption of ‘security coordination’ will jeopardize the safety of Israelis, including the illegal Jewish settlers. But Harel is not worried.
“What frightens Israelis more than terror attacks is that Israel will again be responsible for the well-being and welfare of 2.5 million Palestinians. What have we come to?
“People dealing with Palestinian issues know that the Palestinian Authority will not be dismantled and that security coordination will not cease, and that missiles aimed at Ben Gurion Airport will not be launched from Nablus anytime soon. Israel has learned a thing or two since its flight from Gaza (though not from its flight from Lebanon). When there is a real concern about a ticking bomb in the West Bank’s Area A, the Shin Bet security service and army take care of it, not the ‘security coordination.’”
Ruthie Blum (The Jerusalem Post)
Typical in commentaries published in the right-wing Israeli newspapers, Blum’s views were entirely dismissive of Palestinians, and, unsurprisingly, keen on exhibiting Israel’s sense of self-pity and victimization in her references to the Holocaust and the supposed Palestinian ‘anti-semitic’ culture.
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas needs new material. Even the flies on the wall at his compound in Ramallah must have yawned on Tuesday night when he announced – for the umpteenth time – that the PA is no longer bound by previous agreements with Israel.
“Though the honchos in attendance must have doubted that Abbas was actually going to make good on his threat to halt economic and security cooperation with the Jewish state, they couldn’t have admitted it aloud.
“Which brings us to the real reason for his latest diatribe: to remind the so-called international community of his ‘plight,’ and to force Arab leaders to pay lip service to his latest grievance.
Not that it’s a new complaint, of course. No, Abbas is a one-trick pony who keeps himself relevant by pretending that his main mission in life .. is to obtain independence for his people from Israel’s ‘illegal occupation’ of the West Bank and Gaza.
“Through his tightly controlled media and school curricula, he promotes the idea that the ‘catastrophe’ of Israel’s founding in 1948 was the original ‘illegal occupation of Palestine.’ Simultaneously a Holocaust-denier and someone who accuses Israel of Nazi-like crimes, he fosters antisemitism in his society.”
Avi Issacharoff (The Times of Israel)
While Issacharoff understood why Israeli politicians are not taking Abbas’s comments seriously, he warned that this time might be different.
“Israelis, particularly Israeli politicians, tend to be dismissive of grandiose pronouncements made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And perhaps they are justified.
“This time, Abbas has moved to back up his words. After announcing earlier this week that the PA was no longer bound by agreements with Israel as a result of its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Abbas has taken action to really and truly halt security coordination with Jerusalem. Israeli sources in the past 24 hours have confirmed that the PA has stopped all facets of coordination.
“This is a dramatic move. To many, ‘ending security coordination’ may sound like a meaningless slogan. But a step like this can have serious ramifications for both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
“For the Palestinians, their preventative security forces rely to a large degree on this coordination. Confusion of this type has occurred in the past, but it’s only in the last 24 hours that Palestinian police have suddenly been surprised with actual orders to stop certain Israeli activities in Area A.
“Ignored and humiliated repeatedly in recent years by both Israel and the US, PA leaders are now flexing their muscles, wishing to demonstrate they are willing to gamble everything, even to cause real harm to themselves, to prove they will not capitulate to American and Israeli pressure.”
Elior Levy (Ynet News)
Like Issacharoff, Levy took the PA President’s comments quite seriously, referring to his decision as a ‘doomsday weapon’. He also analyzed Abbas’s carefully-chosen words, suggesting that the Palestinian leader has purposely left a margin that would allow him to maintain ‘security coordination’ even after his dramatic announcement.
“As far as the PA is concerned, if Israel wants to go through with annexation and return to the days where it had to look after 2.5 million Palestinians, take care of their schools, health systems, garbage collection, economy, and sewage – they are more than welcome.
“Doomsday weapons are called so because they have proven before to be as equally as destructive for both sides.
“The dissolution of the PA also means that its hundreds of thousands of clerks and bureaucrats, who have become accustomed to a rather comfortable living, are now jobless and probably not too happy to give up on that lifestyle ..
“Also, without the PA, the PLO loses all credibility within the Palestinian public, opening the door for Hamas to take full control of both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
“However, Abbas picked his words very carefully .. and made sure to leave some space for him to maneuver.
“We are no longer obligated to previously signed agreements,” Abbas said. If taken literally, that means that the Palestinians can still be obligated to said arrangements, but not accountable to them.
“This means security ties are still in place and the PA is still working with Israeli intelligence and the American CIA.
“Tuesday night was the Palestinian’s warning call to Israel .. The bottom line is that the Palestinians are sitting and waiting to see how things unfold. Some of them believe that this whole annexation issue will fade away due to its ramifications on Israeli relations with the international community.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)