by: Ben-Dror Yemini
Monday, 23 November 2020 | The six months in which ties were severed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) may not have resulted in any great security calamity or a resurgence of terrorism, but they were a nightmare for Israeli security officials.
On Tuesday, Ramallah announced the renewal of these ties, a bright spot among the myriad of issues between Jerusalem and the Palestinians.
Europe—as usual—did nothing to help improve the situation, and if anything has made it worse.
The European Union and most Western European nations automatically back the Palestinian position, transferring aid to Palestinian and Israeli organizations that are mostly hostile to Israel, thereby only adding more fuel to the fire.
The continent does have a serious and positive role to play in renewing talks, but usually chooses not to take advantage of it.
But this time, however, was different as the EU pressed the PA to renew ties with Israel. The organization also threatened to cut Palestinian aid as Ramallah [the de facto capital of the PA] was warning of an impending economic disaster but still [refused] to take tax revenue collected by Israel worth a massive [US] $750 million or so.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas decided to punish his people over Israel’s justified insistence on deducting from the tax revenues the sum that the PA hands over to the families of terrorists jailed in Israel or dead in terror missions against Israelis.
But the resumption of these ties is just a small step. The conflict with the Palestinians [is] still an open wound for Israel, despite its historic new normalization agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.
This is no longer a Palestinian conflict solely with Israel. The Palestinians have also managed to turn moderate Sunni Arab nations against them by backing their rivals.
Abbas’s support for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was the first insult.
Nonetheless, the Arab world tried to keep its cool and continue its support for the Palestinians.
When former US president Bill Clinton presented his parameters for a solution to the Palestinian issue most Arab nations supported it, but again Ramallah refused.
When Iran, together with Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Muslim Brotherhood, became the main threats to stability in the Middle East, who did the Palestinians side with? The Iranian–Islamist–Turkish axis.
The renewal of the ties between the PA and Israel [is] a cure for only one symptom of a disease that still continues to thrive.
Because no breakthrough in talks is expected, small steps like the renewed ties are crucial. This does not give Israel carte blanche to do as it pleases in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].
But until real change arrives, both sides are obligated to not make the situation worse.
Posted on November 23, 2020
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