Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed during talks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to set up a mechanism to curb violence, Reuters reported. The joint communiqué stressed the need to prevent any disruption to Jerusalem’s holy sites as Ramadan, the most important month in the Muslim calendar, begins later this week.
During talks on Sunday, Israeli and Palestinian officials “agreed to establish a mechanism to limit and counter violence, incitement and inflammatory speech and actions,” to be presented at the next meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh in April. High-level representatives also participated in the consultations USAJordan and Egypt. Details of this mechanism have not been provided.
Clashes during Ramadan
The parties also reaffirmed the commitments made at the meeting in Jordan’s Aqaba last month, including the commitment Israel to stop planning new settlements for a period of four months. Reuters writes that the February 26 meeting in Aqaba, the first of its kind in years, failed to stop the violence, despite Israeli and Palestinian pledges of de-escalation repeated during talks in the Egyptian resort on Sunday. In previous years, during Ramadan, there were clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians, especially around the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.
Since the beginning of the year, 81 Palestinians, 13 Jews and one Ukrainian woman have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian clashes, according to AFP calculations based on information from Palestinian and Israeli sources.
Rising tensions in the West Bank
The year 2022 and early 2023 saw an increase in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. Armed groups are emerging in the West Bank to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians, but also to oppose the increasingly unpopular Palestinian authorities. In areas of the northern West Bank where most of the clashes take place, Palestinian Authority control is diminishing and young Palestinians are losing hope for a Palestinian state.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ATEF SAFADI