Last week, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it was resuming security and civil coordination with Israel, which it had suspended in May. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas took this dramatic step when Jerusalem insisted on subtracting from the tax revenue it collects for Ramallah the amount the latter was spending on paying terrorists and their families. Khaled Abu Toameh observes:
In the past few months, the PA leadership has come under heavy pressure from its civil servants and several international parties, including the United Nations and European Union, to accept the tax revenues to prevent a severe economic crisis.
The rise in the number of coronavirus infections in the West Bank in the past four months forced the PA leadership to take a series of measures to curb the spread of the disease. These measures, which included lockdowns and curfews in several Palestinian cities and villages, further exacerbated the economic crisis, especially in the private sector.
The suspension of civil coordination between the PA and Israel also had a negative impact on Palestinians in other fields, particularly medical treatment in Israel. Thousands of Palestinian patients who sought medical treatment in Israel were unable to obtain permission to enter Israel, because the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs, headed by Hussein al-Sheikh, was instructed to halt all contact with its Israeli counterparts.
Similarly, the same Palestinians who praised Abbas for suspending security coordination with Israel later complained about the absence of law enforcement and security in their communities. As a result of the decision, PA security forces stopped operating in Area B of the West Bank, which, under the terms of the Oslo Accords, is administered by both the PA and Israel.
In West Bank villages such as Eizariya and Abu Dis, located east of Jerusalem, Palestinians saw how the absence of PA policemen led to a surge in criminal activity. . . . Shortly after Abbas’s decision to halt security coordination with Israel, police stations in several Palestinian villages in Area B were closed down, leading to scenes of anarchy and lawlessness in many communities.