Thu, 30 March 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Israeli and Palestinian officials vow to curb violence

Update : 27 Feb 2023, 11:13

Delegates from Israel and the Palestinian Authority have pledged to counter a surge in violence and de-escalate tensions. At a rare meeting, representatives said they would work for a "just and lasting peace."

In a joint statement, Israeli and Palestinian officials on Sunday agreed to act to prevent more violence after a surge in deadly incidents since the start of the year.

Representatives were in the Jordanian city of Aqaba for "political-security" talks aimed at restoring calm with the approach of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

What was announced?
After "thorough and frank discussions," the sides "reaffirmed the need to commit to de-escalation on the ground and to prevent further violence," the statement said.

The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority "affirmed their commitment to all previous agreements between them, and to work towards a just and lasting peace," the document said.

In addition, both administrations "confirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of three to six months."

"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 said.

Both the host nation, Jordan, and Egypt and the United States, which were also represented, considered  "these understandings as major progress towards re-establishing and deepening relations between the two sides," the statement said.

The participants have agreed to meet in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in March to talk further about achieving their goals.

Jordanian state broadcaster Al-Mamlaka said the Aqaba meeting was "the first of its kind in years between Palestinians and Israelis with regional and international participation."

Despite the statement, Israel's far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Sunday said he would not agree to any freeze on settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

Tensions rising
The Palestinian Health Ministry says that 62 Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed since the start of the year. Israel's Foreign Ministry says 10 Israelis and a Ukrainian tourist have died in Palestinian attacks over the same period.

The Aqaba meeting was billed to "discuss ways to calm security tensions in the region ahead of the month of Ramadan." Past years have seen tensions during the period flare between Palestinians and Israeli police at a contested Jerusalem site revered by both Muslims and Jews.

Amid the talks, two Israelis living in a West Bank settlement were fatally shot while in their vehicle, in what the Israeli government described as a "Palestinian terror attack."

The attack came days after Israeli forces launched a deadly raid in the northern city of Nablus.

The Israeli side at the talks was reported to include national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and the head of the Shin Bet domestic security agency, Ronen Bar. Sources said the Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Faraj was also in attendance.

Jordanian and Egyptian security officials were present, along with US National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk.

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