The Palestinian Authority is appealing to international institutions and attempting to urgently convene the UN Security Council, calling for an immediate end to a wide Israeli military operation in the West Bank, Ramallah officials said Sunday.
A statement issued by the Palestinian leadership and published on the official WAFA news agency said the PA would seek international help to lift Israel’s 10-day-old crackdown in the West Bank, launched after the kidnapping of three teenagers on June 12.
The Palestinian statement condemned “the brutal, open aggression and collective punishment carried out by the Israeli occupation forces all across the Palestinian territories,” and said it “means that the Israeli government is pushing towards more tension and towards an ‘outburst.’”
Israeli forces continued on Sunday to search the Hebron area for signs of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, last seen hitchhiking in the Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem.
Hebron and its environs have been placed under partial military closure, with thousands of day laborers and merchants blocked from entering Israel.
In concert with the search, Israel has also cracked down on the Hamas movement in the West Bank, arresting over 300 suspects, mostly from the Islamist group, which Israel blames for the kidnapping.
While the PA has cooperated with Israeli forces, signs of weariness have begun to show in Ramallah and on the Palestinian street. Two Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli forces during raids overnight Saturday, bringing the Palestinian death toll during the campaign to four.
PLO official Hanan Ashrawi told The Times of Israel on Sunday that other diplomatic options were being weighed besides the plea to the UN Security Council, including an appeal to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN General Assembly.
“The Israeli operation is unconscionable and criminal,” Ashrawi said. “It is a reign of terror directed against a captive Palestinian population. This is not a systematic search for three abducted boys but collective punishment. It’s crazy and it must stop immediately.”
The Palestinians have reported six civilian casualties and hundreds of arrests since the start of the IDF operation last week.
On Saturday, the Executive Committee of the PLO convened in Ramallah, issuing a statement saying “the leadership will not remain silent in the face of the Israeli terrorist aggression against the state of Palestine and will not allow Israel to escape punishment for its premeditated aggression.”