Palestinian, Israeli officials meet in Jordan's Aqaba days after West Bank massacre

Palestinian, Israeli officials meet in Jordan's Aqaba days after West Bank massacre
Palestinian factions and officials have expressed strong skepticism at the meeting's prospects of ending Israel's aggression in the West Bank.
2 min read
26 February, 2023
Palestinian participation in Sunday's meeting was met with consternation by some [Khalil Mazraawi/AFP via Getty]

Jordan hosted a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba on Sunday, amid one of the worst spells of Israeli aggression in the occupied West Bank in recent memory.

The summit, attended by US President Joe Biden’s Middle East adviser Brett McGurk as well as Jordanian and Egyptian officials, comes as Israeli forces continue their frequent, deadly incursions on the occupied West Bank, killing more than 60 Palestinians since the start of 2023.

The Palestinian delegation went into the meeting to demand "an end to the policy of assassinations, incursions, the Judaisation of occupied Jerusalem, settlement expansion, and unilateral Israeli measures", Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA on Sunday reported a Fatah spokesperson as saying.

Palestinian participation in the meeting was met with consternation by some, with several Palestinian resistance factions coming together in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday to denounce the meeting they called "a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs".

Nablus was the site of a massacre at the hands of the Israeli army earlier this week, with 11 Palestinians killed and more than 80 wounded by gunfire when Israeli troops raided the city.

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Some Palestinian officials also expressed skepticism that the meeting would end Israel's West Bank onslaught.

"We have been informed of Israel's refusal to abide by all our demands that were previously delivered as confidence-building measures to American officials," a Palestinian official who asked not to be named told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The official said the Palestinians were going into the meeting with little expectation.

"There is American, Egyptian and Jordanian pressure on the Palestinian leadership, which decided to go in response to the demands of these countries to prove that Israel is the one undermining all efforts for calm," they said.

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Israel's current government is among the most right-wing governments in its history. Some of the ministers appointed by Benjamin Netanyahu at the turn of the year have openly called for Israel to annex the West Bank, and have incited acts of violence against Palestinians.

There are concerns that Israeli violence will worsen in the lead-up to and during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins in the third week of March.

Last Ramadan saw multiple raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Israeli settlers backed by security forces. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured in resulting clashes at the compound, and hundreds more were arrested by Israel.

The year 2022 was the deadliest in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since 2004, with more than 150 Palestinians killed in Israeli aggression.