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Abbas: We will cancel the security coordination with Israel, but I personally am in favor of it

Al-Watan (Qatar)  |
[Q:] "Your Honor the President… we will ask you about the circumstances of the issue of Martyr (Shahid) Basel Al-A'araj (i.e., head of terror cell) and his five comrades that is preoccupying the Palestinian street."
[Abbas:] "They were all in Palestinian prisons and were wanted by Israel. We wanted to protect them by detaining them. However, their families said to us: 'We do not want you to protect them, release them.' We released them and requested that they sign a document regarding this. Afterwards, Basel died as a Martyr and Israel arrested his comrades. Before Basel’s death as a Martyr there was a court case, and the confrontations that took place led to the establishment of an investigative committee to examine their circumstances. We will punish those who need to be, even if it turns out that the Palestinian [PA] Security forces are the guilty ones.
[Q:] "Do we understand from Your Honor that the security coordination between you and Israel was not the reason for Basel Al-A'araj's death as a Martyr?"
[Abbas:] "The Palestinian security coordination with Israel is a different matter, and what happened with Basel is not connected to the security coordination. We have decided to cancel the security coordination. It remains for us to choose the appropriate time for this, and that is the PLO's responsibility, in coordination with me. There are members of the Palestinian people who support the security coordination, and there are those that oppose it, and everyone has their own opinion. However, we must criticize it with respect for the opinion of the other, and there are those who criticize me on Facebook and other [places] because I am in favor of the security cooperation."

Basel Al-A’araj – head of a Palestinian terror cell that planned to attack Israeli targets. Al-A'araj and his cell were arrested by the PA Security Forces in spring 2016 and held in prison until they were released on Sept. 9, 2016, largely due to a public Palestinian campaign. Israeli soldiers tried to arrest Al-A'araj in El-Bireh on March 6, 2017, but he resisted and opened fire on them at which point they shot and killed him.

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