The IDF was poised to launch a large-scale operation in the West Bank city of Jenin in recent months but halted the raid after Palestinian Authority forces were pressured into acting, Channel 12 reported Friday, citing a conversation between Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and confidants.
Kohavi reportedly said that the ability to get the PA to act in the city that is widely seen as a hotbed of activity for the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups was a result of the close security cooperation that exists between Israel and the PA.
The security cooperation was a central theme of talks held earlier this week when PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz at his home, the first time the Palestinian leader has held talks with a senior Israeli official in Israel since 2010.
Reporting details from the conversation on Wednesday, both Channel 12 and 13 quoted Abbas as telling Gantz that he would not support a return to violence in the West Bank “even if a gun was held to my head.”
Gantz was lambasted by the right-wing and some in his government for hosting Abbas, but Channel 12 said Kohavi’s comments should be seen as the “fruits” of the ongoing security coordination.
Jenin had seen repeated violent incidents in recent months.
Israeli soldiers entering the area to conduct arrests were repeatedly met with gunfire. In late September, Islamic Jihad member Osama Soboh was killed during a shootout with Israeli troops near Jenin. Another four Palestinians, including two members of the PA security forces, were killed during a gun battle with Israeli soldiers in August.
In late November, the PA launched a series of crackdowns in Jenin but denied they were targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad, saying instead that it was a law and order operation.
PA forces have detained suspects across the governorate as part of the operation, although precise details were not been publicized.
The PA forces were also frequently met with stone-throwing from local residents.
The Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in enclaves across the West Bank, is dominated by the nationalist Fatah movement. Fatah and Hamas have long fought one another; a bloody 2007 civil war between the two parties saw Hamas expel their rivals from the Gaza Strip.