By Lauren Marcus, WorldIsraelNews.com
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressured Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept a U.S.-backed plan to boost security in PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, but the embattled Palestinian leader has expressed reservations about the program.
Blinken presented Abbas with an anti-terror roadmap created by U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Michael Fenzel during their meeting in Ramallah on Tuesday, Axios reported.
The plan includes a framework for how the PA can regain control over swathes of their territory which have widely fallen under the control of terror groups, particularly the city of Jenin.
Part of the plan would see the training of a special-forces unit among the Palestinian security apparatus for anti-terror efforts.
Despite Blinken’s pressure, Abbas and other Palestinian officials have held off on accepting the plan.
Palestinian officials are reportedly worried that they will be unable to garner enough public support for the measure.
According to Axios, the Palestinians told Fenzel that the plan was problematic because, they claim, it makes no demands of the Israelis, such as fewer IDF raids in PA-controlled cities.
Octogenarian Abbas is wildly unpopular among Palestinians. He was originally elected to a four-year presidential term in 2005, but has repeatedly refused to hold scheduled elections since then. Polls have found that the majority of Palestinians would prefer to be governed by Hamas rather than by the PA.
Public frustration with the PA’s rampant corruption, the killing of a critic of Abbas’ administration, and the failure to remedy the dire economic situation in the region has created an opportunity for terrorist organizations, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Lion’s Den, to operate freely.
Likely due to the widespread negative public sentiment against him, Abbas has dragged his feet on clamping down on terror in recent months, as the organizations enjoy popular support from his constituents.
After an IDF anti-terror raid last week killed 10 Palestinians – the vast majority of whom were Islamic Jihad terrorists – Abbas declared a day of mourning and announced he was ending security coordination with Jerusalem.
However, a senior PA official told the Tazpit Press Service on Wednesday morning that “the security coordination continues, and it will not be possible to disconnect it in practice.”
“The PA does not maintain an open coordination due to pressure from the Palestinian street, which denounces the coordination,” the source said.