PLO Declares Halt to Security Cooperation

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -

Leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), led by President Mahmoud Abbas, have decided to stop all forms of security coordination with Israel, Palestinian officials said.

Three members of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC), the second highest Palestinian decision-making body, told Reuters the decision was taken during a two-day meeting that ended on Thursday. Decisions by the PLO are usually binding on the Palestinian Authority.

“The council decided to cease all forms of security coordination with Israel,” a PLO official told Reuters.

Israeli officials had no immediate comment on the PCC move, except to say that there had been no changes in existing security cooperation.

Following the announcement, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern and called for the international community to push for a Middle East peace deal.

It was unclear when the PCC decision was supposed to go into effect.

“[Ban] urges both parties to exercise utmost restraint and reverse their unhelpful cycle of actions and counter-actions,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric. “The Secretary-General repeats his call on Israel to resume the transfer of tax revenues legally due to the Palestinian Authority.”

Israel has frozen $127 million of monthly Palestinian tax revenues in protest against President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to apply for membership in the International Criminal Court and pursue war crimes charges against Israel.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Israeli navy opened fire on boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip, killing one Palestinian fisherman, Gaza hospital officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said four vessels had strayed from the six nautical-mile fishing zone and that the Israeli army opened fire after the boats did not heed calls to halt.