The PLO Has Renounced Its Agreements with Israel—and Demonstrated Its Own Irrelevance

Last month, a senior figure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declared that the group’s governing body had decided “to renounce all the commitments of the Oslo Accords,” along with any other “agreements with the state of Israel,” and end security cooperation with the Israeli government. It was the PLO that was party to the Oslo Accords, which in turn created the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. Thus, as Maurice Hirsch explains, this decision should be significant. But reality is somewhat different:

[D]espite the ostensible severity of the . . . decision, nothing on the ground has changed. Neither the PLO nor the PA has announced any severing of the security coordination with Israel, and they certainly did not decide to stop taking the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes Israel collects every month and gives to the PA.

In stark contrast, in May 2020, the PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided alone . . . to renounce all agreements with Israel, including those regarding security coordination and tax revenues. That decision held for six months, after which the coordination was renewed and the PA agreed to accept the billions of shekels (over a billion dollars) in tax revenue that had accrued during that period.

PLO declarations aside, the reality is that everyone—including the Palestinians themselves—knows that the PLO is a defunct institution that lacks any real legitimacy. Both the PLO and the PA are run as a de-facto dictatorship, in which decisions are made by one person. . . . No one truly puts any stock in the decisions made by the PLO, and the organization itself is incapable of enforcing the decisions it and its institutions make.

Surveys conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research show even declining Palestinian support for the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The March 2019 survey showed that only 54 percent of those surveyed still viewed the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians, down from 69 percent in 2006.

Read more at JNS

More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Oslo Accords, Palestinian Authority, PLO


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security