Skip to main content

Abbas: If UN bid fails, PA to rethink security cooperation with Israel

Palestinian president asks Arab League foreign ministers to support the PA's statehood resolution and provide 'economic safety net'
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly in September (AFP)

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said he will rethink the Palestinian Authority's security cooperation with Israel if the UN Security Council does not recognise Palestine as a state.

Abbas made his comments to Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday during an extraordinary meeting to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories after months of unrest in Jerusalem which has spread to the West Bank and Arab communities inside Israel.

Palestinians are unable to wait while "Israel creates facts on the ground through continued building of settlements," Haaretz quoted Abbas as telling the ministers. 

Abbas also repeated that the PA will seek membership in the International Criminal Court should the UN bid fail, a claim he has made before, most recently when he spoke at the UN General Assembly in September.

A week after told the UN that he would seek an end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank with a statehood bid, Palestinians circulated a draft resolution calling for Israel to withdraw from all Palestinian territory occuped since 1967, including East Jerusalem, by November 2016 and for an international force to replace the Israeli army, according to news reports.

Abbas has previously said that the Palestinians are under heavy pressure from the US to drop the UN bid, including risking $700 million a year in US aid. US officials have said they object to the bid as premature and damaging to the negotiations process. 

On Saturday, he asked Arab League ministers to support the Palestinian resolution which he admitted had made them look like "a laughing stock".

"We have given the Americans every possible opportunity and we have repeatedly postponed taking action until we turned into a laughing stock," Abbas said, according to Haaretz. "I myself have been accused of adopting a policy of 'patiently waiting.' Therefore, I ask you to support our resolution to the Security Council and to provide the PA with an economic safety net."

Abbas' comments on Saturday will raise questions as, in September, it emerged that he had stopped a Palestinian application to join the ICC in the middle of this summer's war in Gaza. His blockage of the application followed a leaked recording of Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat claiming the PA president had promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he would not apply to join the ICC.

Erekat allegedly said: “Abu Mazen [Abbas], if you want to move Netanyahu, work on the [application] documents for international institutions. He [Abbas] said: ‘I made a commitment’ [not to apply to international institutions]. What commitment have you made? This isn’t your daddy’s farm! This is a nation, this is Palestine. This is bigger than individuals. He didn’t listen to me. I swear, I submitted my resignation twice.”

Further pressure was applied on Abbas when Hamas declared it was prepared to incur the risk of prosecution from the ICC for rockets they fired at Israel. Hamas' declaration prevented Abbas from claiming that he needed the consent of all Palestinian factions before signing up himself.