The security meeting in Aqaba is a waste of time

The security meeting in Aqaba is intended to please the US and Arab countries, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has no intention of confronting the armed terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. The IDF will reduce its arrest activity in the West Bank ahead of Ramadan, but it cannot trust the PA in everything related to the war on terror, yesterday's murderous attack in the town of Hawara is the best proof of this.

PA representatives went to the security meeting in Aqaba initiated by the US ahead of the month of Ramadan to try and calm the area despite the opposition of 11 Palestinian factions, led by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations.

The entire Palestinian street opposed the participation of PA representatives in the summit, the mindset was that this was a shot of calm by the US and Israel designed to neutralize the opposition of the Palestinian street to Israel which had already begun to wake up for a new intifada.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was subjected to heavy pressure from the Biden administration, Egyptian President Al-Sisi and King Abdullah of Jordan and in the end he folded, he feared that the US would harm the annual financial aid to the Palestinian security mechanisms and he was assured that Israel would agree in the discussions in Aqaba to transfer him an additional NIS 200 million from the funds it collects at the Allenby Bridge crossing, which for the past ten years have not been transferred to the PA.

The assessment among senior security officials in Israel is that the security meeting in Aqaba will fail and that there is no change in the motivation of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, he is not ready to endanger his rule and order PA security forces to confront the armed terrorist groups in the northern West Bank in the areas of Nablus and Jenin.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas sent his representatives to a meeting in Aqaba to please the Biden administration and the Arab countries, he remembers very well a previous meeting in which he participated in Aqaba 20 years ago with the participation of American President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who discussed the Road Map even then the meeting failed.

The meeting in Aqaba was intended to establish the American calm plan reached last week, the Palestinians withdrew the proposed resolution they submitted to the UN Security Council in exchange for an Israeli commitment to freeze the settlements for a period of several months.

The meeting in Aqaba was scheduled a few weeks before the month of Ramadan to try to calm the area and prevent a security escalation during the holy month.

The conference’s summary statement indicates that there is no commitment by the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism, a joint security committee of Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be established to examine the renewal of security coordination and the willingness and ability of the Palestinian Authority to bear responsibility for the fight against terrorism in the territories of the Palestinian Authority, in preparation for Ramadan there will be another meeting in Egypt to examine the progress on the security level, and it was also agreed to establish a civilian committee that will work to promote confidence-building economic measures.

Entry of IDF forces into areas A in the West Bank

The main problem from the point of view of the Palestinians is the continued entry of IDF forces into the centers of Palestinian cities in Area A which are under full Palestinian sovereignty according to the Oslo Accords for the purpose of arresting wanted terrorists and preventing terrorist attacks.

The PA demands that Israel return to the situation that existed until September 2000 when the IDF refrained from entering Area A in the West Bank, but since then a lot of water has flowed into the Mediterranean Sea, the PA has lost its security control over the northern West Bank and the cities of Nablus and Jenin have become cities of refuge for terrorists.

The shooting attack that took place yesterday in the town of Hawara in the Nablus region at an Israeli vehicle in which 2 Israeli citizens were traveling, Hallel and Ygel Yaniv from the Har Bracha settlement, was probably the message of the terrorist organizations to the security emergency meeting in Aqaba.

This was a brutal murder of innocent civilians, the terrorist came from area A, lay in wait in the area along the main road in Hawara and shot dead the two Israelis and fled back to the area of the city of Nablus.

Despite this, according to the order of the political echelon, the IDF intends to reduce the activity of the IDF forces in Area A to the minimum necessary, the IDF forces will carry out towards the month of Ramadan only arrest activities that cannot be avoided, such as the arrest of terrorists who are considered to be a ticking time bomb in order to avoid friction as much as possible with the Palestinian population.

The IDF also intends to allow the PA’s security forces to make arrests independently as was the case in the past.

However, the main problem is the lack of a clear directive from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the PA’s security forces to forcefully confront the members of the armed terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, disarm them and arrest them.

In the northern West Bank, more than a thousand armed terrorists are already operating independently, and infrastructures for thousands of illegal weapons, and stockpiles of explosive charges and ammunition have been established there.

Therefore, the security meeting in Aqaba was mainly a show of the PA representatives to the US, Israel and the representatives of Egypt and Jordan, this meeting will not change anything on the ground in terms of the war against terrorism in the West Bank, Israel cannot rely on the PA from a security point of view and the IDF and Shin Bet will be forced to do the work themselves.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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