Palestine Daily, Dec 14: Amid US Pressure, Palestinian Authority Makes No Response to Death of Top Official

PHOTO: An Israeli soldier grabs Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, shortly before his death on Wednesday

Giving way to a request by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Palestinian Authority has postponed discussions on a response to the death of Minister Ziad Abu Ein, after he was confronted by Israeli soldiers during a West Bank protest on Wednesday.

A “senior Palestinian official” involved in the meetings acknowledged the “American pressure”, but he maintained that the Authority never intended to carry out threats to suspend or halt security cooperation with Israel.

He said the deferral of any action is part of ongoing tactics by Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to wait for the US to find an acceptable solution to the conflict.

Abu Ein died after he was shoved and grabbed by the throat by Israeli forces, as they tried to disperse the protest near Ramallah. He was seen on video clutching his chest just after the clash. Israeli officials claim he died of a heart attack, unrelated to the incident.

The Palestinian leadership met on Wednesday evening, but soon said that a response was delayed until Friday.

The “senior official” said reports of a possible break in security cooperation were only to assuage public anger:

A few of the people who spoke in the media in favor of suspending security coordination speak completely differently in closed meetings and are asking to act with restraint and caution.

The Israelis know that very well, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said more or less that these were empty threats.

“These are threats that have stopped being threatening. The Palestinian Authority cannot end the security coordination because of the many economic and personal interests – not only security ones – that rely on it.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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