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Abbas says will not resume security coordination with Israel: report

Le président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas le 18 juillet 2017 à Pékin
Mark Schiefelbein (POOL/AFP/Archives)
The Palestinian leader also vows to continue payments to prisoners' families despite US pressure

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that he will not resume security coordination with Israel nor will he end financial support for Palestinian security prisoners jailed by Israel, despite pressure from the United States.

Abbas made the declarations in a wide-ranging interview with the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

Abbas described Israeli settlement building in both the West Bank and east Jerusalem to be illegitimate, and called for “peaceful popular resistance in the face of the practices and procedures of the occupation.”

The Palestinian leader also told the paper that he does not approve of Arab states’ normalization of ties with Israel, which he says contradicts the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative.

The initiative, initially proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 would extend alliances between Israel and numerous Arab nations for land seized in 1967, setting into motion the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.

While Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states to have formal peace treaties with Israel, other moderate Arab states such as Saudi Arabia have been inching closer to Israel over shared regional security interests, particularly Iran.

Abbas halted security coordination meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials in July at the peak of tensions and clashes over Israel’s temporary installation of metal detectors at the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The Palestinian leader has also resisted US pressure to end providing stipends to the families of Palestinians who have been jailed by Israel, defending the payments as an “internal Palestinian issue” and a “social responsibility” of his government.

Israel strongly condemns the practice, and believes the payments could encourage radical and poor Palestinians to turn to terror in a bid to be jailed and secure such funds for their families.

The United States has urged that Abbas end the payments as part of its push to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table, and has taken a firmer stance on the issue after the revival of the Taylor Force Act by Congress -- legislation that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to provide financial support to the families of perpetrators of attacks against Israelis.

The proposed bill is named after former US army officer Taylor Force and Vanderbilt University graduate student Taylor Force, who was killed in a stabbing attack while on an educational visit to Tel Aviv with fellow students in March 2016.

(Staff with agencies)

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