West Bank – The Palestinian president has claimed Israel has reduced its security cooperation with Palestinians in the West Bank to protest the successful bid for upgraded status at the United Nations, in an interview published Friday.
Israel’s military denied the charge, saying security cooperation continues.
Mahmoud Abbas said Israeli soldiers have started entering West Bank cities without Palestinian coordination. He spoke in a meeting with a dovish Israeli lawmaker and Israel’s daily Haaretz.
An Abbas aide, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, said Israel’s army detained 200 Palestinian officers in recent months, mostly for short interrogations.
Israeli defense officials responded Friday that soldiers enter Palestinian cities only when they think Palestinians are not providing enough support. They spoke anonymously in line with government regulations.
Israel earlier suggested the possibility of reducing security cooperation in retaliation for the Palestinian U.N. campaign.
Abbas also reiterated his longstanding threat to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, which he believes would leave Israel responsible for governing the West Bank’s Palestinians.
Critics say Abbas is unlikely to follow through on the threat and may be using it as a pressure tactic. Tens of thousands of Palestinian civil servants and security forces rely on the Palestinian Authority for their livelihood, and the Palestinian Authority is the keystone of a series of partial peace accords with Israel that benefit the Palestinian economy and influence other aspects of life.