Abbas, cornered by Israeli annexation, opts for ‘Judgment Day’ scenario

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said he is ending security cooperation with Israel, a move that could lead to violence.
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said he is ending security cooperation with Israel, a move that could lead to violence. (photo: Alaa Badarneh)
The Palestinian leader has promoted security cooperation with Israel in his quest for a Palestinian state. That strategy may have hit a dead end.

By David M. Halbfinger, Adam Rasgon and Mohammed Najib | The New York Times | May 20, 2020

By declaring his intent to break off the close security cooperation with Israel that has protected his government from more radical Palestinian elements, and Israeli citizens from acts of terrorism, Mr. Abbas’s decision could remove impediments to more militant responses.

Tuesday night, for most Palestinian Muslims, was the Night of Destiny, commemorating the revelation of the first verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

For Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, it was a night of reckoning.

As long as he has led the Palestinian national movement, Mr. Abbas has opposed violence and espoused negotiations with Israel.

But Israel’s push, with the Trump administration’s support, to annex occupied territory that the Palestinians have counted on for a future state may be steering Mr. Abbas’s strategy to a dead end.

On Tuesday, citing the new Israeli government’s determination to annex West Bank territory as soon as July 1, Mr. Abbas declared an end to security cooperation with Israel — a move that Palestinian officials have referred to as a “Judgment Day” scenario because of its potential to lead to conflagration.

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