PA premier vows to block IDF from entering West Bank’s Area A ‘with our bodies’
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PA premier vows to block IDF from entering West Bank’s Area A ‘with our bodies’

Mohammad Shtayyeh says Israeli raids of towns under full auspices of Ramallah violate accords; unclear whether practical actions planned

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh talks during an interview with The Associated Press, at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh talks during an interview with The Associated Press, at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh vowed in an interview published Saturday that Palestinians would prevent Israeli troops from conducting operations in Area A of the West Bank, which is under the full auspices of Ramallah.

“We will prevent the Israeli occupation army from raiding Area A, not with violence but with our bodies,” Shtayyeh told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds. “Israel is invading the PA’s territories, and the signed agreements do not allow for such invasions.”

It was not immediately clear whether there were any actual plans for action by the PA.

The Israel Defense Forces conducts daily arrests raids throughout the West Bank, including in Area A. The army views these operations as critical for maintaining security and the delicate status quo beyond the Green Line.

But Ramallah claims these raids have increased in recent months, and are more regularly taking place in broad daylight.

Israeli soldiers deploy during clashes in the West Bank city of Ramallah following a raid on December 10, 2018, one day after a drive-by terror shooting attack next to an Israeli settlement. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

In July, Israel demolished several buildings — including in Area A — in Wadi Hummus, a part of the West Bank adjacent to the security barrier and the Sur Baher neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

In August, Shtayyeh said that the Palestinians would deal with all territories in the West Bank as if Ramallah maintains security and administrative control over them.

“Israel no longer respects any of the signed agreements and has started to deal with all places as if they are part of Area C. Therefore, we will deal with all places as if they are part of Area A,” Shtayyeh said while meeting members of the Defense of Wadi Hummus Committee.

Last December, PA President Mahmoud Abbas contacted a number of Arab and international officials after Israeli security forces raided Ramallah — in Area A — in broad daylight. Israeli forces raided the headquarters of the official PA news site Wafa in Ramallah and seized security camera footage, a day after seven Israeli civilians were wounded in a terrorist attack near the Ofra settlement in the West Bank.

The Oslo Accords, a series of agreements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, divided the West Bank into three areas: A, B and C. Area A refers to parts of the West Bank under Palestinian security and administrative control; Area B alludes to places in the territory under Israeli security control, with certain exceptions where Palestinians maintain limited security control, and Palestinian administrative control; and Area C is those locations under both Israeli security and administrative control.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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