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The West Bank is a battlefield between Hamas, the PA and Israel

13 5 2

Israeli operations to pursue Hamas cells in the occupied West Bank, including residential areas of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, are ongoing. They take place near the Palestinian Authority headquarters and the home of its President, Mahmoud Abbas. Officials close to the president have said that they would not confront the Israeli army militarily because they do not want to bring chaos to the West Bank. Meanwhile, Israel believes that its pursuit of Palestinians is legitimised by the Oslo Accords and includes entering Palestinian cities; the PA, insist the Israelis, agrees to these raids, despite opposing them publicly.

I want to look at the Israeli army’s “hot pursuit” of Palestinians; the PA’s position on this and why it is afraid to confront the Israelis; the extent of security coordination between the PA and Israel; and whether Hamas is involved in the Israeli raids in the West Bank in order to weaken the PA.

The Gaza Strip continues to attract attention due to the ongoing tension on the nominal border; all of the parties focus on Gaza in their current election campaigns. However, although it does not get into the headlines as much as Gaza, the West Bank still garners both the attention and interest of electioneering politicians.

READ: UNICEF ‘saddened’ by Israel’s killing of 2 Gaza children

Tensions revolving around security are rising in the West Bank, albeit slowly. Earlier this month, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre (ITIC) published a lengthy study on the security situation in the West Bank in 2018. It reported that there were at least 55 incidents such as stabbings, hit and run collisions and gunshots involving Palestinians; stone throwing at illegal settlers’ cars and military vehicles are not included. The figure for 2017 was 82. Twelve Israelis were killed in these attacks, compared with 18 the previous year. In 2015, there were 171 such attacks.

These incidents are........

© Middle East Monitor