Photo Credit:
IDF check point in Jenin well inside Area A. / Source: IDF

Seniors politicians on the right have been furious Monday following revelations in Ha’aretz that Israel has been conducting secret negotiations with the PA to return security control of Judea and Samaria Arab cities to the Arabs and pull the IDF out of Areas A and B. Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, (Likud) who is a member of the security cabinet, said that the negotiations had been conducted illegally, behind the backs of the cabinet. Elkin demanded that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) “stop any progress in that dangerous direction.”

A source in HaBeit HaYehudi told The Jewish Press that the party’s two members of the security cabinet will also resist the move, which appears to have been conducted secretly by the triumvirate of Netanyahu, Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. The same source suggested that of the three choices to lead the IDF Eizenkot was the weakest, and was picked by Ya’alon for his obedience.


According to Ha’aretz, Israel and the PA have been conducting secret negotiations over the past month over the gradual return to the PA of security control in Area A, with a complete pullout of the IDF. According to the source speaking to The Jewish Press, Israel conditions these grand concessions on retaining the right to send IDF forces across the border in case of a “ticking bomb.” So far the PA has not accepted this condition, because it contradicts its entire claim to sovereignty.

Israel proposed so far to start the pullout in two cities — Jericho and Ramallah, and should the move prove fruitful to extend it to other Arab cities. This will essentially return the IDF positions back to where they were in 2002, on the eve of the tragic suicide bombing that claimed 23 lives at a hotel Passover seder in Netanyah.

According to Channel 10 News, the secret initiative was proposed by OC Central Command Roni Numa, and the IDF coordinator in Judea and Samaria Yoav Mordechai. The two senior officers believe that Israel must reduce its presence in the PA territories, to reduce Arab frustration.

“I object completely to the idea of limiting the IDF security activities in Area A and transferring the responsibility there to the Palestinian Arab security forces, at the very time when Palestinian Arab terrorism is raising its head and running wild,” Minsiter Elkin announced.

Both heads of the Eretz Israel lobby in the Knesset, MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (HaBayit HaYehudi) said in response to the revelation that “the government does not have a popular mandate to return to the Oslo outline. Whoever is imagining that we have a partner that we can count on probably hasn’t been here in the past twenty years. Instead of pullout plans we must defeat the terror and advance our complete control and impose our sovereignty across our land.”

The Oslo II Accord divided Judea and Samaria into three administrative divisions: the Areas A, B and C. The distinct areas were given a different status, according to the amount of self-government the local Arabs would have over it through the Palestinian Authority, until a final status accord would be established. The Areas A and B were chosen in such a way as to just contain Arabs, by drawing lines around Arab population centers at the time the Agreement was signed; all areas surrounding the Areas A and B were defined as Area C.

Starting in the spring of 2002, the IDF has been ignoring those demarcations whenever it saw a need to move in on suspected terrorists.

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