(Photo credit: Ronaldo Schemidt)
Palestinian resistance groups on 20 February condemned the decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to withdraw a proposed bill from the UN Security Council (UNSC) against the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“The PA’s withdrawal of the anti-settlement bill is considered a retreat for unguaranteed gains,” member of Hamas’ Political Bureau Basem Naim said in a statement, adding that the decision shows Ramallah “reinstated security cooperation in return for tactical measures offered by the enemy – freezing settlement [expansion] until the end of Ramadan.”
The Hamas official also called for national action to remove the PA from the seat of power.
“It is time to reach a national agreement based on a national strategy and rebuild the Palestinian political system based on goals to achieve the freedom, independence, and return ambitions,” he said.
Similarly, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) issued a statement criticizing the PA for their “submission” to US pressure, highlighting that bending the knee to Washington’s diktats has only allowed Tel Aviv to expand illegal settlements and intensify apartheid measures.
“The settlement deals and any political understandings that are being talked about will not benefit the Palestinian people, and all previous facts have proven that the [Israeli] occupation takes these understandings as a cover to pass settlement annexation schemes and evade responsibility for its crimes and aggression,” PIJ spokesman Tariq Selmi told Safa news agency.
He also highlighted that the PA helped disrupt any international move to reject Israeli human rights abuses by submitting to US pressure.
On Monday, the UAE informed the UNSC of its decision to drop a planned vote on a draft resolution against Israel’s expansion of illegal settlements after reaching an agreement with the PA under the auspices of the US.
Anonymous Israeli and US officials revealed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to stop pursuing the anti-settlement bill at the UN in exchange for Tel Aviv temporarily suspending unilateral actions in the occupied West Bank.
Over recent years, the PA has lost much of its credibility in the West Bank due to its deep security ties with Tel Aviv. In contrast, Gaza-based factions like the PIJ have gained support across the occupied territories.
US news outlet Axios on Tuesday revealed that senior aides of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas have been holding “secret talks” for months to de-escalate rising tensions in the occupied West Bank.