East Jerusalem, Palestinian (Web Desk): The Palestinian central council has authorised its executive committee and President Mahmoud Abbas to suspend recognition of Israel and stop security co-operation.
If adopted, the steps could threaten the landmark Oslo Accords that created the Palestinian Authority over 20 years ago.
The statement late on Monday signalled the deep-seated Palestinian frustration over the recent deterioration in conditions for a long-awaited peace plan promised by Donald Trump, who described himself as the most “pro-Israel” candidate during the US presidential election.
While the call from the central council is non-binding, it is the first time that the possibility of derecognising Israel, a key tenet of the 1993 Oslo Accords, has been officially raised.
It comes as Mr Abbas heads to Brussels to seek support for a demand that the US not be the primary mediator between the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership.
Mr Abbas spent the opening hours of the central council’s two-day meeting on Sunday night excoriating the US.
He described Mr Trump’s “deal of the century”, the way the president describes his pledge to reopen a Middle East peace process, as the “slap of the century”.
He also attacked the US ambassador to Israel, who has previously supported Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who has joked that she wears high heels to protect Israel.
“Our reaction will be worse, but not with high heels,” he said on Sunday night, repeating a longstanding position that he sought peace with Israel through non-violent means. His angry, sometimes rambling, two-and-a-half-hour speech included a colloquial Palestinian insult, “Yekhreb Beita” or “May your house be destroyed”, according to the Associated Press.
The decision by Mr Trump in December to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has enraged a Palestinian political community that appears, along with Mr Abbas, to be losing some support among its own population.
The council also confirmed that the Palestinian Authority would consider a suburb of East Jerusalem outside the Israeli security barrier as its own capital.
A Palestinian official said that the council statement would strengthen the hand of Mr Abbas as he prepares a response to any negotiations he believes would be harmful to the Palestinian cause.
Prior statements by the central council have been ignored by Mr Abbas. Ending the Oslo process would disband the Palestinian Authority, which has administered parts of the West Bank and recently regained some control over the Gaza Strip.
“This was done to leave some manoeuvring room for the president to persuade the international community to get involved,” the official said.