Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said today that PA would no longer be bound by the Oslo Accords agreement signed in the 1990s that outlined a path towards a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine (via NYT):
“We cannot continue to be bound by these signed agreements with Israel and Israel must assume fully all its responsibility as an occupying power,” Mr. Abbas said.
There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli government. Officials said they were studying Mr. Abbas’s speech.
Khalil Shikaki, a leading Palestinian political analyst, said Mr. Abbas’s declaration was “a big deal, no doubt” but would mean “absolutely nothing” on the ground “until he starts taking the steps he mentioned” to curtail security, economic, and civil coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He said Mr. Abbas would be under tremendous pressure from Palestinians to cut these ties but would probably take weeks or months to follow through.
Last year Mr. Abbas used his General Assembly speech to push for a Security Council resolution that would demand an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory by a certain date, and define a Palestinian state roughly along the pre-1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.
But the momentum for such a resolution has faded with the world’s increasing focus on fighting the Islamic State and grappling with the world refugee crisis.
For months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has walked a waffled line on Palestinian statehood. Before the Israeli elections, Netanyahu said that no such state would exist during his tenure as prime minister, as it would only bring Israel’s enemies closer to their borders. He would go on to win that election.
In late May, a few weeks after he formed a conservative coalition government, Netanyahu seems to have reversed course, saying he’s committed to a two-state solution.
“I remain committed to the idea that the only way we can achieve a lasting peace is through the concept of two states for two peoples — a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish nation state of Israel,” he said.
Nevertheless, the prospects for such a diplomatic solution looks grim, as they’ve seemingly always have, in this volatile and hostile region of the world.