Ultra-Orthodox Jews look towards the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City. (Photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO – 16 January 2018: The Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council decided on Monday to suspend the recognition of the state of Israel until it officially recognizes the Palestinian state. This decision came as a response to the American decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which deems an official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"The Executive Committee of the PLO was assigned to revoke recognition of Israel until it recognizes the State of Palestine on the pre-1967 borders and reverses the decision to annex East Jerusalem and expand settlements," the Central Council's final statement read.
The final statement affirmed that the transitional period stipulated in the agreements signed in Oslo, Cairo and Washington, are no longer valid.
On Sept. 13, 2003, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's top deputy Mahmoud Abbas extended his hand to Arafat after signing the Israeli-PLO peace accord at the White House. From left: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Clinton, Arafat and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Credite: Win McNamee / Reuters
Therefore, the Central Council stressed that there is no form of security coordination with the Israeli authorities, adding, "The economic ties established as a result of Paris Economic Agreement are no longer valid."
In 2015, the Central Council suspended all forms of security cooperation with the Israeli security apparatuses; however, that decision remained inactive in the past two years before the approval of 74 members of the Central Council on Monday, and with only two members voting against it and 12 abstaining.
In a long historic speech in Ramallah on Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the end of the Oslo Accords, describing Israel as a "colonial project" that "has nothing to do with Jews."
The Oslo accords are a set of agreements that were signed in the U.S. and Egypt in 1993 and 1995 respectively. The Oslo peace process resulted in the recognition of the state of Israel, and the recognition of the PLO as a representative of the Palestinian people.
Trump's unilateral decision over Jerusalem
On December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by announcing the relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This decision was condemned and rejected by all Arab and Islamic countries, as well as most Western and Asian countries.
US President Donald Trump places a note in the stones of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City May 22, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNST)
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets to denounce the American decision on Jerusalem in different cities across the world.
On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump’s decision and called on states not to move their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with Fox News in January that the U.S. is already planning for the step of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. “The decision was made and we will move our embassy to Israel’s capital,” Pence stated.
Five European countries opposed PLO decision
London-based Al-Hayat newspaper revealed that five European countries had asked the PLO neither to announce the end of the Oslo accords nor to suspend the Palestinian recognition of Israel.
“Abbas has concerns over the so-called ’deal of the century’ and the American attempts to impose this deal on Palestinians,” Palestinian sources told Al-Hayat on Tuesday.
Israeli border guards walk past a T-shirt with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump dressed as a Hasidic Jew, in Jerusalem’s Old City - AFP
"Trump and his regional allies will not succeed to impose that alleged deal on the Palestinians," said member of PLO Executive Committee Ahmed Magalani to Al-Hayat news report on Tuesday.
"France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK secretly asked Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat neither to announce the end of Oslo accords nor to suspend the recognition of Israel," according to the Pan-Arab newspaper's report.
Reuters reported earlier that the Saudi Crown Prince had promised Palestine's Abbas to "hear good news" about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during their meeting in November in Riyadh, while the Palestinian President denied Saudi pressures to accept the American announcement over Jerusalem.
"Some Arab countries have interfered into the Palestinian domestic affairs and pressured us to accept the American decision," Abbas said on Monday.
He slammed the unnamed Arab countries. "Leave us alone," he stated.
"An Arab official tried to convince me three times to accept Trump's decision on Jerusalem and offered me money to accept that deal," Abbas added.
Azhar's international conference on Jerusalem
Three rabbis arrived in Cairo on Tuesday coming from New York City to attend the two-day conference in Cairo to back the Arab identity of Jerusalem and to reject the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city.
Eighty-six Arab and international delegations are expected to take part in the conference organized by Egypt's Azhar under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo.
The conference adopts the motto of "World Conference in Support of Jerusalem", and witnesses the participation of prominent national, regional and international figures such as Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Alexandria Tawadros II, Arab Parliament chief Meshaal bin Fahm al-Salmi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.