A senior Israeli official said the government would not approve the transfer of more arms to the Palestinians or approve the release of more security prisoners, Wednesday night, rebuffing a reported IDF proposal to implement the measures as a way to ease tensions.
The comment, by an unnamed source in the Prime Minister’s Office close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came quickly on the heels of a briefing by a senior IDF official that suggested a series of goodwill gestures to curb a recent wave of terror attacks.
The PMO official said the government would not okay the moves, but did not elaborate, Hebrew-language news site Ynet reported.
The source added that lawmakers would make the granting of building permits to the Palestinians dependent on international recognition for Israeli construction in settlement blocs, heavily-built areas Israel wants to retain in any future peace deal.
Netanyahu made a similar statement to US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting on Tuesday.
Earlier Wednesday, a senior IDF officer said the army was considering recommending a series of steps to ease spiraling violence, including allowing the PA to acquire more arms, releasing prisoners, granting more work permits to Palestinians and alleviating the passage of commercial goods between the PA and Israel.
The IDF officer said the army sees moves aimed at easing Palestinians’ lives in the West Bank as key to stemming the violence, which has seen near daily attacks in the West Bank, Jerusalem and elsewhere for two months.
The officer said the IDF recognized Palestinian efforts to quash the violence, predicting that if left unchecked the wave of attacks could last several more months and even worsen.
The remarks by the officer were carried by several Hebrew-language news outlets.
However, an army source told The Times of Israel that no such measures have been taken but are only being “considered, and will be made if the security situation returns to calm.”
On Tuesday, Netanyahu told Kerry that Israel would not make any gestures until Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis ended, according to a senior Israeli official.
This is not the first time the defense community and government have butt heads over how to deal with violence. Earlier this month, the cabinet voted to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, a hard-line Islamist group, despite officials from the Shin Bet security service saying the move was unnecessary.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report