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Blinken put pressure on Abbas to accept US security plan for Jenin and Nablus

February 2, 2023 at 11:40 am

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) in Ramallah, West Bank on January 31, 2023. [Palestinian Presidency – Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has put pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept and implement America’s security plan for the PA to regain control over Jenin and Nablus, Axios news website reported on Wednesday. US and Israeli officials have said that they see the reduction in the PA’s security control across the occupied West Bank as a key reason for the ongoing escalation in the territory.

The plan was drafted by US security coordinator Lieutenant General Michael Fenzel, confirmed US and Israeli officials. The Biden administration, said Axios, is looking for ways to de-escalate the situation in the West Bank and prevent it from deteriorating into a third intifada.

The PA has reservations about the plan, which does not include any demands for Israel to reduce the number of its incursions across the West Bank. Moreover, Abbas has blamed Israel and the the “lack of international efforts to dismantle the occupation” for the escalation.

READ: US Blinken meets Palestine President in Ramallah

The lack of support and progress in the peace process has weakened the PA, leading to it losing control in Jenin and its refugee camp, as well as in Nablus, where Palestinian resistance fighters have been active against the Israeli occupation. The fighters do not affiliate with Palestinian factions, although some are known to be linked to the Fatah movement which controls the PA. All of them are hailed by the factions.

Last week, Israeli occupation forces raided Jenin and killed ten Palestinians, including a 61-year-old woman. The Israeli forces carry out daily arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank.

Israeli officials claim that Jenin is raided because the PA security forces do not do it themselves. According to Palestinian officials, though, the Israeli incursions erode the PA’s ability and legitimacy to act against the resistance fighters.

Following the killings in Jenin last week, the PA said that it had suspended security coordination with Israel. Israeli journalist Edi Cohen has denied this and stressed that the PA still offers great assistance to the occupation state. Abbas has threatened to end security coordination on many occasions in the past, but has always pulled back at the last moment. Indeed, he has called such coordination “sacred”.