Israel to continue West Bank raids despite Sharm El-Sheikh summit: report

Israel to continue West Bank raids despite Sharm El-Sheikh summit: report
An Israeli military source has reportedly said that despite the "heavy bloodshed" recently faced by Palestinians, "Israel has no intention of stopping the raids on Palestinian cities."
3 min read
19 March, 2023
Israeli forces have no intention of stopping the raids on Palestinian cities [Getty]

Israel will reportedly continue its raids in the occupied West Bank despite participation in a summit on Sunday with Palestinian officials, regional powers and the United States.

The meeting in the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh is taking place with the participation of representatives from Egypt and Jordan.

Israel's Channel 12 broadcaster on Saturday quoted an Israeli military source as saying that despite the "heavy bloodshed" recently faced by Palestinians, "Israel has no intention of stopping the raids on Palestinian cities".

This year has seen an uptick in killings of Palestinians, with 89 having lost their lives to Israeli forces and settlers so far in 2023, according to Palestinian health ministry data.

Channel 12's source said the main issue to be discussed at Sharm El-Sheikh was attempting to help the Palestinian Authority (PA) to 'prevent its collapse'.

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The broadcaster's military journalist Nir Dvori described attempts to save the PA as "desperate".

Israel views the authority as key to restricting the operations of militant groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Both Islamist groups, as well as the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, have slammed the PA's participation at Sharm El-Sheikh.

The left-wing Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two other factions issued a joint statement urging President Mahmoud Abbas to halt Palestinian participation ahead of the meet, The New Arab's Arabic sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan quoted a PA source as saying: "The chances of success at the meeting are approaching zero."

Sunday's meeting comes as a follow-up to last month's US-brokered summit in Aqaba, Jordan, and seeks to discuss measures to prevent a further escalation of violence in the occupied West Bank before the advent of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan next week.

Bilateral meetings between the participating countries are scheduled to be held on the sidelines, sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, based on a US push aimed at "saving what can be saved, and strengthening security coordination".

The move comes despite Israel's failure to abide by the outcomes of the Aqaba summit, which saw Tel Aviv pledge to de-escalate and halt violence in the West Bank.

While the meeting took place, two Israeli settlers were killed in the West Bank town of Hawara. A vengeful response from settlers killed one Palestinian in a nearby village.

Hundreds of others were wounded as homes and cars were torched. Israeli forces looked on as settlers rampaged through Hawara.

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Violence often spikes during the holy Muslim month – particularly in Jerusalem – as Israeli settlers regularly storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, while Israeli forces step up their aggression against worshippers at the third-holiest site in Islam.

The PA said on Saturday that it will be making demands for an end to Israel's occupation and violence in the West Bank.

The Palestinian delegation will "defend the rights of our Palestinian people to freedom and independence", and "[request] an end to this continuous Israeli aggression against us and to stop all measures and policies that violate our blood, land, property and sanctities", said Hussein Al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)'s Executive Committee secretary general.

The PA agreed to attend the summit in Egypt amid pressure from the US, following a meeting between Al-Sheikh and the US Special Envoy for Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr in Ramallah earlier this year, according to the PLO's website.