The Israeli army is set to take full “security control” of Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that lie behind the Separation Wall.
According to Haaretz, the move comes as part of a “redeployment” of Israeli occupation forces in the area, “due to issues surrounding security and cooperation with police in these areas”.
The report states the “principal change” will be felt in Kafr Aqab, while Israeli police will remain active in Shuafat refugee camp, two Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli army spokesperson Ronen Manelis said that soldiers would be taking control of “cities of refuge for terrorists”, and denied that the army would be “taking control of any citizens”, a reference to the fact that Palestinians in East Jerusalem have Israeli residency status.
A report by the Jerusalem Post, meanwhile, described the developments as a “restructuring” of the Israeli military’s brigades, including “improved coordination with the police”.
The report said that the plan was approved at the highest echelons, and “includes a new joint-operations room for all security authorities”.
The paper reports that “as part of the framework of the multi-stage plan, the army will also transfer areas close to Jerusalem that were previously under the control of Etzion Regional Brigade to the Binyamin Regional Brigade”, while “northern parts of the area under the control of the Binyamin Regional Brigade will be transferred to the Samaria Regional Brigade in the coming months”.
The army spokesperson said that while “the increased cooperation between the Etzion and Binyamin brigades is set to begin in the coming days, the formal transfer of responsibility will only take effect around May.”