View of the Jordanian city of Aqaba
(Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
Representatives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) met with Israeli officials in Jordan on 26 February to discuss a halt to the surging violence which unfolded in the occupied territories in recent weeks.
Also attending the summit is US President Joe Biden’s Middle East adviser Brett McGurk as well as Jordanian and Egyptian officials attempting to defuse the tensions.
A senior Jordanian official told Reuters that the summit is aimed at restoring calm and bringing about a political future for Palestinians.
“The objective is to reach an agreement on stopping all unilateral measures with a view to achieving a period of calm that would allow for confidence-building measures and lead to more political engagement,” he said.
The meeting held at the Red Sea port of Aqaba is the first of its kind in many years and comes in light of Israeli military operations in the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, killing more than 60 Palestinians since the start of the year, including civilians.
However, the summit has been met with opposition and anger due to a growing distrust towards the Palestinian Authority.
Hundreds of Palestinians marched last night in Dheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem to denounce the treacherous PA-Israeli summit taking place today in Aqaba, Jordan.
“PA what have you done? What has befallen you? Resign Abbas, go away [Hussein] al-Sheikh”, chanted the protesters. pic.twitter.com/z0ncrS196p
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) February 26, 2023
Various videos have been shared on Twitter, showing a march of over a hundred Palestinians in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, chanting slogans such as “PA, what have you done? What has befallen you? Resign Abbas, go away al-Sheik,” to express their dissatisfaction and a general feeling of betrayal.
Several Palestinian resistance factions also joined the protesters with similar demands in Nablus on Friday, where Israeli forces massacred 11 people and injured over 100 on 23 February, calling the summit “a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs.”
However, recent mediation efforts by the United States and its Arab allies have shown little results, with Israel approving 4,000 new settler units in the occupied West Bank, adding further fuel to the fire.
The Israeli Supreme Planning and Building Council authorized plans to build an additional 4,000 units just a few days after endorsing the construction of another 3,000 units, despite promising to pause the expansion deep into Palestinian territory.
Discontent with the PA has been mounting across the West Bank for years, in particular after the murder of Nizar Banat.
An outspoken critic of the PA, Banat was killed while asleep in his bed on June 2021. PA security forces stormed his home and beat him with a crowbar before dragging him away.
Palestinians have also expressed concern over the close security cooperation between the PA and Israeli occupation troops.
PA forces are known to carry out raids in the West Bank at the direct request of Israeli forces.
Despite the objection to the summit at home, the Palestinian officials hope to achieve their goals, demanding “an end to the policy of assassinations, incursions, the Judaisation of occupied Jerusalem, settlement expansion, and unilateral Israeli measures,” according to WAFA news agency.