Palestinian Authority officials have reportedly turned their noses up at a range of goodwill gestures approved last month by Israel’s Security Cabinet, according to a report posted by Al-Monitor on Saturday, June 3.
The measures were approved by the Cabinet on the eve of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the nation.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and IDF Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) traveled to Ramallah late Wednesday night immediately after the end of the Shavuot holiday to present the proposed measures to PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, and PA Civilian Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh.
The list of confidence-building measures included:
(1) expanding the hours of operation at the Allenby border crossing between Israel and Jordan to 24 hours a day
(2) upgrading and expanding the hours of operation at crossings between pre-1967 Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas of Judea and Samaria
(3) establishment of two new industrial zones in Judea and Samaria – one in Tarqumiya, adjacent to the Tarqumiya crossing northwest of Hebron, and the other near Jenin; and
(4) Coordination of Israeli enforcement policy in specific areas in Area C (under full Israeli control under the Oslo Accords) located next to Areas B (shared control) and A (full PA control) – meaning demolition of illegally-built structures would cease. (5) Increase in the number of construction permits for Palestinian Authority citizens residing and who wish to build in Area C, adjacent to Areas A & B.
Two members of the Bayit Yehudi party in the Security Cabinet voted against the measures, leaving a majority of eight who voted in favor.
This was the first high-ranking delegation – in fact, the first official delegation including any Israeli government minister – to travel to Ramallah since 2014, when talks between the two sides ended.
Nevertheless, according to a Fatah official who spoke with Al-Monitor, the measures – which in many Israeli circles created a small tsunami – were seen as nothing more than “a bad joke,” one the official predicted would not satisfy the Americans and which the writer, Shlomi Eldar, claimed are “too minor.”
Meanwhile, the village council refuses to change the name of its new Dalal Mughrabi Women’s Youth Center, despite the withdrawal of specific funding for a women’s youth center by the government of Norway and the United Nations, both claiming they were not informed about the name of the center prior to its opening and both insisting their names and logos be removed.
Dalal Mughrabi is the bloodthirsty terrorist who led a group of operatives in hijacking a bus near Tel Aviv in 1978, holding some 90 people hostage, and later murdering 37, including 12 children, in what became known as the Coastal Road Massacre. It was the most horrific terrorist attack in Israeli history, and to this day, Dalal Mughrabi is lauded, honored and glorified as a national hero in the Palestinian Authority because of it, held up as a role model for children to emulate – including in the new youth center named in her honor.
The Dalal Mughrabi Women’s Youth Center opened this past month – and the Palestinian Authority government is supporting the village council of Burqa in its refusal to change the center’s name.
As usual, there has been no mention of what kind of “significant” confidence-building measures the Ramallah government of the Palestinian Authority is expected to present to Israel’s government in Jerusalem.
One wonders whether there will be any confidence-building measures forthcoming from Ramallah, significant or otherwise, or whether PA leader Mahmoud Abbas will use the tired excuse that any measures he offers must remain “secret” in order to ensure his survival . . .