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Sunday, 22 September 2019

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says to stop agreements with Israel

AFP , Friday 26 Jul 2019
Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 25, 2019. REUTERS
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Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he has decided to stop implementing agreements with Israel amid worsening relations between the two sides.

"We announce the leadership's decision to stop implementing the agreements signed with the Israeli side," he said in a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

He said the Palestinians would immediately form a committee to study how to carry out the decision.

The two governments work together on matters ranging from water to security, and withdrawing from agreements could impact security in the occupied West Bank.

Relations between Abbas's government, based in the occupied West Bank, and its Israeli counterpart have worsened in recent months.

In February, Israel decided to deduct around $10 million a month from tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, corresponding to the amount it said the Palestinian Authority pays to families of prisoners or directly to inmates in Israeli jails.

Israel sees such payments as encouraging attacks while Palestinians see them as support for families who have often lost their main breadwinner.

The Palestinians have in response refused to take any of the roughly $180 million in monthly tax revenues until the full amount is transferred, leaving Abbas's PA in financial crisis.

Israel also on Monday demolished 12 Palestinian apartment buildings, many of which were still under construction, in the Sur Baher area which straddles the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Israel said they were built too close to its separation barrier that cuts off the West Bank, but the demolitions were condemned by Palestinian leaders, as well as the European Union and UN officials.

"(The destruction of Palestinian homes) can only be classified as ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity that cannot be tolerated," Abbas said Thursday.

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