Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed Sunday that his announcement of a general suspension of cooperation with Israeli authorities in the wake of the Har HaBayis crisis included security cooperation, according to media reports.
Abbas indicated that cooperation would not be restored until or unless Israel removes the metal detectors from the site, which as of Sunday it has refused to do. However, the government has said it is considering alternate security arrangements, and installed surveillance cameras as an interim measure, though leaving the detectors in place.
“If we are patient, we will certainly get what we want: we will stop the installation of these metal detectors, stop these measures, and stop the incursions by the Israeli government in all cities of [Yehudah and Shomron],” Abbas said, according to a report in the official PA news site Wafa.
“They don’t have a right to place the [metal detectors] at the gates to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, because sovereignty over the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is our right… So we took a decisive and firm stance, especially with regard to security coordination and all kinds of coordination between us and them,” Abbas said.
In apparent response to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s comment that the current arrangement is something the “Palestinians need first and foremost,” Abbas said:
“This decision we took to stop all kinds of coordination, whether security or otherwise, is not easy at all. But they (the Israelis) have to act and know that they are the ones who will inevitably lose, because we are doing a very important duty in protecting our security and theirs.”
The security cooperation between the PA and Israel has been in effect for several years, during which it has been credited with thwarting a number of terror attacks.
During his visit with Abbas on May 3, U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the coordination at a joint press conference: “They get along unbelievably well,” he said, adding that Washington should provide greater backing to PA security forces.