Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called on the international community to intervene on behalf of the Palestinians in the West Bank as Israel conducts massive security sweeps in search of three kidnapped teenagers.
In a meeting in Ramallah, Hamdallah asked European Union officials to pressure Israel into releasing administrative detainees who have been taken into custody, according to Israel Radio.
Meanwhile, Egypt called on Israel to show “self-restraint” in its crackdown on Hamas in the Palestinian territories as security forces hunt for the three abducted teenagers abducted Thursday night in the West Bank.
The calls came after Israeli troops killed a 19-year-old Palestinian during clashes and arrested more than 40 people overnight, including the parliament speaker, a Hamas member. The army says that more than 150 Palestinians have been arrested in the search for the three youths.
The government is reportedly weighing the option of expelling senior West Bank Hamas leaders to the Gaza Strip.
Right-wing Israeli politicians have also been calling for punitive measures, such as annexing the Etzion bloc and re-arresting the Palestinian prisoners released in the 2011 deal that set IDF soldier Gilad Shalit free from Hamas custody.
Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdellaty said in a statement that Israel must show “maximum self-restraint” after reports of “Israel’s intention to expand its security operations in the West Bank… in response to the kidnapping of three Israeli citizens.”
He also urged Israel to refrain from “escalating the situation… between the Palestinian and Israeli sides… and prevent it from deteriorating in a way that would make it difficult to control later.”
According to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has authorized national security forces to “work with legitimate Palestinian officials to resolve the crisis” after Israel had asked Egypt to intervene.
The Ma’an report clarified that Egypt is working with the PA and other parties, but not Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday condemned the kidnapping, but also denounced the wave of Israeli arrests.
With the manhunt for the missing youths in its fourth day, security forces are focusing on the southern West Bank city of Hebron and the surrounding area, home to some 663,000 Palestinians.
Raphael Ahren and Spencer Ho contributed to this report.