On May 21, 2020, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would no longer adhere to commitments made between the US, Israel, and the PLO in the Oslo Accords. Shortly after news of the decision broke, Palestinian Authority (PA) security teams halted Israeli Defense Force (IDF) units from entering Hebron. Additionally, sporadic reports of gunfire near Kissufim Military Base in the Gaza Buffer Zone began to erupt on social media.
The Oslo Accords are a set of agreements signed in the 1990s designed to promote peace and prosperity between Palestine and Israel. The accords granted the Palestinians the ability to self-govern part of the West Bank and Gaza, while the PLO agreed to recognized Israel as a legitimate state. The Palestinian decision to tear up these agreements, including those focusing on security, erases decades of progress and seemingly upends any hope for sustained peace.
To say this was unexpected would be incorrect. The Israeli decision to annex parts of the Jordan Valley and West Bank earlier this year was expected to elicit some kind of response from the Palestinians. It remains to be seen if today's war of words will erupt into a full scale conflict tomorrow.
Mr. Abbas became the head of the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Since that time, he has welcomed security cooperation with Israel, and used it as a way to prove to the Israelis that a Palestinian state did not pose a threat to Israel's existence. By breaking off security cooperation with both Israel and the United States, Mr. Abbas opens up the PLO to more radical elements and the possibility of increased reliance on terror tactics, while simultaneously hurting the case for a two-state solution.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.