The Prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Shtayyeh, declared Area C of the West Bank an “integral part of the State of Palestine” in statements made to his cabinet on Monday, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Shtayyeh recently created a ministerial committee in the Palestinian Authority (PA) to promote Palestinian development in Area C, which includes about 60% of the West Bank and, according to the Oslo Accords, is under the military and civilian control of the Israel Defense Forces.
The Knesset Land of Israel Caucus, headed by Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman, Knesset Member Yuli Edelstein (Likud party), MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism party), and MK Limor Son Har-Melech (Jewish Power party), in response, slammed Shtayyeh’s statements.
“The words of Mohammed Shtayyeh this morning are a wake-up call for Prime Minister Netanyahu and the cabinet ministers. This morning, the Palestinian Prime Minister openly announced the intention of the Palestinian Authority and all its bodies and offices to violate the agreements and continue to take control of Area C.”
“If we don't wake up, we don't increase enforcement, and we don't stop the PA in these actions, it will be a tragedy for generations. The Jewish people have a natural, historical, and legal right to the entire Land of Israel - from the south to the north. Even Mohammed Shtayyeh will not be able to oppose this basic truth,” the statement read.
All of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria, are located within Area C. The Israeli government has stepped up the destruction of illegally erected Palestinian structures in recent months, which is attributed to its right-wing members who support the settlement movement and the eventual annexation of the area to Israel.
The renewed discussion about Area C comes amid intensified negotiations between the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel over a peace agreement.
The Saudi Kingdom is demanding Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, who initially stated they wanted full statehood to be a part of any deal. The Times of Israel reported that the U.S. instead introduced the idea of transferring parts of Area C to Area B or Area A, which is under the PA’s authority.
Recent reports indicated that Saudi Arabia won't insist on full Palestinian statehood, but would instead be satisfied with Israel pledging to ease certain restrictions.
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The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.