Representatives from Israel, Egypt and Jordan met Sunday in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to continue talks on how to defuse an expected escalation in terror attacks with the start of the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Delegates from the Palestinian Authority and the United States also attended.
Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar headed the Israeli delegation together with National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.
During the summit, the State of Israel agreed to a freeze on construction of new housing units in post-1967 areas of the country for the next four months. In addition, Israel agreed to suspend approvals on new settlements for the next six months as well.
Although Israel and the Palestinian Authority made a “joint commitment” to refrain from “unilateral measures,” it’s not clear what the Palestinian Authority committed itself to, if anything.
Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement the summit aimed to “support dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to work to stop unilateral actions and escalation, and break the existing cycle of violence and achieve calm.”
The parties agreed to meet at a later date and establish a “mechanism to curb incitement and violence,” according to a statement issued at the conclusion of the summit.
Ramadan, an annual trigger for increased Palestinian Authority terror attacks on Israelis, is set to begin later in the week.
“We will participate in the meeting to defend the rights of our Palestinian people to freedom and independence,” Hussein Al-Sheikh, Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Executive Committee, said in an irony-filled statement on Twitter prior to the summit.
“We will also participate to demand an end to this continuous Israeli aggression against us and to stop all measures and policies that violate our blood, land, property and sanctities,” he wrote.
Last month the parties met in the Jordanian resort town of Aqaba, across the Red Sea from Eilat, together with officials from the United States and the Palestinian Authority.
At the previous meeting, Israel was also pressured into “confidence building measures” aimed at persuading the Palestinian Authority to take its role seriously and work to stop terror attacks on Israelis from its territory. Israel and the Palestinian Authority were to restore their cooperation on security as well — and while the summit was in progress, it became crystal clear just how much effort the Ramallah government made towards preventing terrorist attacks on Israelis.
On Sunday afternoon, a Palestinian Authority terrorist attacked an Israeli couple while their vehicle was passing through the flashpoint village of Huwara near Shechem in Samaria, while the summit was taking place — a replay of a deadly attack on Israelis that took place last month in the same way, in the same place, during the previous summit.
Jewish travelers in Samaria are forced to pass through the dangerous terrorist hotbed because there is no bypass road.
On Sunday – as happened on February 26 — the terrorist walked up to the car in which the couple was sitting and opened fire at point-blank range.
This time, however, the Jewish driver was also armed, and fired back, hitting the terrorist despite his own grievous wounds.
The wounded driver was taken to Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah with serious wounds; his wife suffered severe anxiety but reportedly was physically unharmed.
The wounded terrorist escaped on foot, dropping his weapon at the site of the attack, but was captured soon after by an IDF officer from the elite Golani Brigade.