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Palestinians restore ties with Israel as annexation threat fades


PTI, Nov 18, 2020, 1:42 PM IST

Ramallah: A senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday the Palestinian Authority would restore ties with Israel after it cut all contacts in May over Israel’s planned annexation of up to a third of the occupied West Bank.

The move to restore ties likely reflects the Palestinians’ hopes that the election of former Vice President Joe Biden spells the end of the Trump administration’s Mideast policies, which overwhelmingly favoured Israel.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official and close aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, tweeted that “the relationship with Israel will return to how it was” following “official written and oral letters we received” confirming Israel’s commitment to past agreements.

Abbas announced in May that the Palestinians would no longer be bound by any past agreements signed with Israel and suspend all coordination with it, including cooperation on security matters.

The move came as Israel was preparing to annex up to a third of the West Bank, including all of its far-flung settlements, as part of Trump’s plan to resolve the decades-old conflict.

The annexation was put on hold in August when the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalise relations with Israel, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the pause was only temporary.

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