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Israel, PA discreetly resume security coordination

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared at the height of the Temple Mount crisis that he was halting security coordination with Israel; now it seems that contacts between the security services of both sides have been resumed.
Israeli security forces stand at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, after Israel removed all security measures it had installed at the compound, and Palestinians entered the compound in Jerusalem's Old City July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Muammar Awad - RTX3D5M4
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Security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been renewed, but no official announcement was issued — nor is one expected. Al-Monitor had learned about it from Israeli defense sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. On July 21, at the height of the crisis triggered by the shooting death of two Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount compound, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared he was suspending security ties with Israel. The move was intended to prove to the Palestinian public that Abbas was taking a tough line with Israel over its placing of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif site, a move perceived in the Arab world as a violation of the fragile status quo there.

Abbas had initially not intended to halt security coordination with Israel. When Palestinian journalists asked PA officials whether the suspension of ties with Israel included a stop to the security coordination, the officials hemmed and hawed and did not provide a clear answer. The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah understood that absent an unambiguous announcement to the effect that the security ties had also been halted, they would not be able to appease public opinion. Abbas then made a dramatic announcement in which he said that he was freezing cooperation with Israeli security echelons until things at the site return to the way they were. But even after Israel removed all its new security devices, continued public pressure made it hard for Abbas to officially announce that business with Israel was back as usual.

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