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Netanyahu demands that Abbas should calm the situation in the West Bank

Israeli media reports claim that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has written to the President of the Palestinian Authority calling on him "to take the necessary measures to calm down the situation on the ground in the West Bank". According to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, the request was made in a letter sent to Mahmoud Abbas via Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, who is known to be close to Netanyahu.

The newspaper also reported that Netanyahu has told the Ministry of Finance to transfer the tax revenues for the past month to the PA. Israel has been withholding the revenues as a protest against Palestine's upgraded status at the United Nations. The demand to calm down the situation in the occupied West Bank has been made before, but the fact that on this occasion it has been made as outstanding revenues have been transferred to Ramallah is significant.

Demonstrations erupted over the past two days in different parts of the occupied territory in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and in protest against the Israelis' appalling treatment of them. One commentator in London described Netanyahu's demand as "classic chutzpah". "It is audacious in the extreme for the Israeli government to continue with its brutal military occupation of Palestinian territory, including ethnic cleansing, and then tell the Palestinians to 'keep calm' about it," said MEMO's senior editor Ibrahim Hewitt. "If the Israelis want 'calm', they should free the prisoners being held without charge or trial and end the occupation."

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