An Israeli offer to reduce military operations in major Palestinian cities across the West Bank with the aim of bolstering the Palestinian Authority has been shelved after it was rejected by the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
Clandestine negotiations have been held over the past few weeks involving a gradual restoration of Palestinian security control over West Bank cities. The proposal stipulated that the Israel Defense Forces would cease operating in Area A, which includes the larger Palestinian cities and villages, except for cases of extreme urgency referred to as “ticking bomb” situations. The plan suggested a pilot program of these steps would be implemented in Ramallah and Jericho.
However, Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority rejected the proposal, Israel Hayom has learned. After news of the negotiations broke in the media, the prime minister called a meeting of Likud ministers at which he stressed the issue was “no longer relevant.”
Although the Oslo Accords call on the PA to control security in the West Bank, the IDF has been operating in Area A since 2002’s Operation Defensive Shield. Before Netanyahu’s announcement, a source close to Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the proposal because it outsources “the security of Israeli citizens to the Palestinian Authority,” Haaretz reported.