At Egyptian summit, Israel and PA reportedly agree to limit new settlements for brief period
Both parties also allegedly agreed to not take any unilateral measures for 3 to 6 months
Israeli and Palestinian Authority representatives attended an Egypt-led emergency summit in Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday, with the goal of reducing tensions ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Muslim month of Ramadan.
Representatives from Egypt, Jordan and the United States were also present and stated that the meeting's format was intended to be “direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”
According to a statement released by Jordan's Foreign Ministry, both Israel and the PA reportedly agreed to refrain from any unilateral actions for a period of three to six months.
"The Government of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority reaffirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediate work to end unilateral measures for a period of three to six months," according to the statement. "This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months."
It should be noted that the last time Israeli and Palestinian officials met to discuss these issues at the previous summit in Aqaba, Jordan on Feb. 25, there were conflicting reports regarding the outcome.
Following the February meeting, Aqaba announced that Israel had agreed to “stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months.”
However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied that Israel agreed to such a freeze.
“I have no idea what they spoke about or not in Jordan. But one thing I do know: There will not be a freeze on the building and development in settlements, not even for one day [it is under my authority],” Netanyahu stated at the time.
At the Egyptian summit ion Sunday, according to a statement from Jordan, Israel allegedly affirmed it would not engage in building new settlements for a brief period, nor discuss approving new construction in settlements for a period of four months and would refrain from discussing the legalization of existing illegal outposts for six months.
The summit reportedly also affirmed the PA’s legal right to implement security in “Area A” of the West Bank, which has seen a recent rise in terror activity.
The territories of the West Bank – also known by its biblical name Judea and Samaria – are divided into areas of responsibility and control. Area B covers areas of joint jurisdiction and Area C covers areas where the Israeli military has jurisdiction. Area A refers to areas under the jurisdiction of the PA, and Israeli law, forbids Israeli citizens from traveling to Area A, following the 1993 Oslo II Accords.
Israel reportedly also agreed to help improve the economic situation of the Palestinian people and the PA as an organization, with five representatives agreeing to “establish a mechanism to curb and counter violence, incitement and inflammatory statements and actions.”
Just as in the Jordanian summit, this emergency meeting of Israeli and PA representatives was marred by a concurrent shooting attack against Israeli civilians driving through the town of Huwara.
Israel and the PA, nevertheless, agreed “to actively prevent any actions that would disrupt the sanctity of these [Jerusalem’s] holy sites,” especially during the month of Ramadan, which begins Wednesday evening.
Another meeting is expected to take place in the coming weeks, but there was no announcement about the date or location.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.