The Civil Administration, which acts as the IDF’s liaison to the Palestinian population in the West Bank, is considering the possibility of transferring some 10,000 dunams (about 3.8 square miles) of land currently under Israeli control to the Palestinian Authority, Channel 2 reported Tuesday.
The move, if implemented, would be carried out as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians in exchange for efforts on the Authority’s part to help quell a surge in Palestinian terror attacks over the past two months.
According to the 1995 Oslo II Accord, the West Bank is divided into three parts: Area A, which is under full PA control; Area B, which is under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control; and Area C, under full Israeli security and civil control.
The proposed 10,000 dunams would come from Area C, which contains the largest amount of land among the West Bank’s three parts, at about 60 percent.
Outside of anonymous sources within the Civil Administration, there was no official confirmation of the plan, which comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry is in the region in an attempt to ease tensions.
The move would likely anger the right flank of Netanyahu’s government. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for statements the latter made with regards to Palestinian statehood during a visit to the US two weeks ago.
“The last thing you need to do in the face of a terror wave is to give them gestures,” Bennett said. “Why does the American approach always have to be accompanied with gifts to the side that is murdering us?”
A wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and vehicular rammings have killed at least 22 Israelis since the beginning of October, including seven in the last week alone. Over 80 percent of the perpetrators have come from the West Bank.