(Photo credit: Reuters)
Israel and the PA have agreed to abide by all previous agreements between them, according to an announcement made following a security meeting in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh on 19 March, aimed at establishing a “mechanism” to curb violence.
The meeting was attended by US diplomat Brett McGurk and the Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers, as well as a delegation representing the Palestinian Authority (PA), which was significantly pressured by the Palestinian resistance not to attend given the recent surge in Israeli violence across the West Bank. Israeli officials were also present.
The meeting was meant as a follow-up to last month’s summit in Aqaba, Jordan.
“The two sides reaffirmed, in this regard, their unwavering commitment to all previous agreements between them, in particular, the legal right of the Palestinian National Authority to carry out the security responsibilities in Area (A) of the West Bank, in accordance with existing agreements, and will work together towards realizing this objective,” an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement read.
Under the 1995 Oslo II agreements, Israeli troops are prohibited from entering Area A of the West Bank, and security is meant to be enforced strictly by the PA. However, Israel regularly carries out raids in this area, which includes the major cities of Nablus and Jenin.
“The two sides agreed to establish a mechanism to curb and counter violence, incitement, and inflammatory states and actions,” the Egyptian statement added.
Following last month’s Aqaba Summit, it was announced in a statement by the US State Department that Israel had agreed to halt the expansion of settlements. However, this was immediately denied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“There is and will not be any freeze” of settlement expansion, Netanyahu tweeted at the time.
Despite reports that Israel agreed to halt the settlement expansion in Sharm al-Sheikh, the Israeli statement released after the meeting made no such promise, and made only a vague reference to “possible agreements on the cessation of reciprocal unilateral measures.”
According to Hebrew media, Israel will not stop its violent raids across the West Bank despite the de-escalation efforts.
“Israel has no intention of stopping the raids on Palestinian cities,” despite the “heavy bloodshed,” Israel’s Channel 12 cited an Israeli military official as saying.
Israeli raids on the West Bank are increasing in frequency and, more often, resulting in the deaths of civilians. They are aimed at quashing the growing resistance in areas such as Jenin and Nablus.
Over the past ten days, Israel has assassinated several members of the resistance in the West Bank.