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PA must pay the price for pressuring Israel on the international stage

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PA must pay the price for pressuring Israel on the international stage

Mahmoud Abbas, April 4, 2015 (YouTube/Screenshot)

The new Netanyahu government is rapidly entering its first political test following the decision of the United Nations General Assembly on December 30, 2022 to accept the request of the Palestinian Authority and to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to The Hague legal proceedings. opinion on the legality of the “Israeli occupation” in the West Bank.

Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the decision of the General Assembly and said that “the Jewish people are not occupiers of their own land and are not occupiers of their eternal capital of Jerusalem” and that “the decision is one of many hundreds of distorted decisions that have been made in the United Nations General Assembly over the years”.

The question is whether the new government will show political determination at the very beginning of its course or whether it will fear the reaction of the American administration.

It will also be a test of coalition agreements between Likud and the Religious Zionist Party, which state that “if the PA takes action against Israel in The Hague, the government will formulate policies and actions against the PA and its shares”.

The PA is very pleased with the decision of the UN General Assembly. Hussein al-Sheikh, general secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, called the decision a “victory” for the PLO.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas planned the move a year ago and was able to lead it successfully under the Lapid government.

The Palestinians are on high alert and threatening to halt security coordination with Israel if Israel stops the monthly transfer of tax money to the Palestinian Authority.

Politicians in Jerusalem say Israel intends to contact the 25 countries that opposed the UN General Assembly decision and ask them to submit an opinion opposing the court in The Hague, in the hope that the ICJ will take their position into consideration.

It is not yet clear whether the Netanyahu government will decide to cooperate with the court in The Hague and convince it to accept Israel’s position or boycott it as it did regarding the International Criminal Court. It is a long process which will take one to two years and which does not involve Israel.

Israel has an arsenal of sanctions it can take against the PA following the decision it initiated at the UN, such as stopping the transfer of tax money that Israel collects for the ‘PA, the cancellation of VIP travel certificates of PA officials, the banning of West Bank workers from entering Israel, a review of the employment in Israel of teachers trained in the Palestinian Authority, and more again.

The General Assembly decision is a political blow to Israel, even though Israel has managed to mobilize more countries at the UN to oppose the decision since the preliminary vote on the issue a month earlier.

Politicians in Jerusalem believe that the new government has no intention of imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority and that it will only operate in international and legal arenas. Apparently, the government is afraid of the reaction of the United States and the European Union and does not want to be presented at the very beginning of its journey as initiating a frontal collision with the Palestinian Authority.

If it is indeed the final decision, then it is a mistake. The PA will interpret this as a weakness and increase the pressure on Israel on the international stage.

In recent months, PA President Abbas has returned to his old strategy of internationalizing the conflict with Israel by calling on UN institutions and the International Court of Justice in The Hague to make decisions against Israel. But he also knows this is an uphill battle and he is now very afraid that Prime Minister Netanyahu will try to further isolate him in the political arena by pushing for a new normalization deal with Israel. Saudi Arabia, leader of the Sunni world.

In light of these developments, the PA chairman has drawn up a “road map” for action against the Netanyahu government, which he recently presented to the PLO Revolutionary Council. The “road map” does not include a new armed intifada.

The plan presented by the PA president was designed to deal with the new Netanyahu government in an attempt to consolidate a united Arab position and mobilize international support for the Palestinian struggle.

The Netanyahu government cannot avoid responding to the Palestinian move at the UN. He must, at the very least, take symbolic measures to warn the Palestinian Authority against similar political moves in the future. Abbas says he has no other choice and intends to focus on a political struggle against the new Israeli government.

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