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Israel fears PA loss of control over West Bank protests

February 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm

On Monday, official Israeli sources were reported as saying that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is in control of the on-going turmoil which erupted in the West Bank in the wake of the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody.

However, the same sources are afraid that the PA might suddenly lose that control.

PA efforts to maintain control over the turmoil were seen through their supervision of the popular protests, Israeli radio reported. It was reported that today (Monday), the PA insisted on carrying the corpse of the deceased Palestinian prisoner in a military vehicle at the head of the funeral procession which was also a huge demonstration.

According to the radio, the PA is trying to undermine “terrorist operations” in the West Bank in an effort to raise the Palestinian issue to the agenda of the international community ahead of the visit of US president Barack Obama to the region.

The prominent West Bank Fatah leader, Fahmi al-Za’reer, said that it is Israel which decides the state of calmness or turmoil. “The occupation must fulfil Palestinian demands represented by the release of the prisoners, the dismantling of the West Bank settlements and entering in to serious negotiations,” Al-Za’reer told MEMO.

Regarding whether the PA will allow armed clashes with the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, Al-Za’reer told MEMO that “no one can decide on what form resistance will take should it be needed.” But, at the same time, he avoided speaking about whether the PA would either allow or fight an armed struggle.

In a different, but related issue, senior Israeli officials repeatedly criticised the decision of the Israeli government to halt tax revenues to the PA. According to the radio station, these funds enable the PA to pay the salaries of its employees, including the security staff.

Israeli interim Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, decided on Sunday to transfer December’s taxes to the PA.

Israeli media reported today that Israeli forces in the West Bank were put on high alert fearing violent incidents might take place during the wave of protests across the various cities of the West Bank.