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Israeli officials say PA security coordination 'exceptionally good'

Jan. 7, 2016 2:15 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 8, 2016 2:50 P.M.)
Palestinian security forces block off a pro-Hamas rally from a West Bank checkpoint. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel has been "exceptionally good" in recent days, unnamed Israeli security officials told Israeli daily Haaretz Thursday.

Citing the armed presence of PA forces at "points of conflict" between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces, the officials reportedly said that since early December, the PA had made a "significant change for the better" in addressing violence in the occupied West Bank.

The comments referred to locations such as Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the northern exit of Ramallah, where PA security forces have at times prevented protesters from clashing with the Israeli army.

The officials said that members of Fatah's armed wing were no longer participating in demonstrations against Israeli forces, while there was also less "inflammatory rhetoric" by official PA media, Haaretz reported.

The comments come a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the PLO would hold meetings next week to decide on whether to continue security coordination with Israel. 

The Palestinian leadership has often threatened to discontinue security coordination in the past, although it has never gone through with it.

Many Palestinians have grown increasingly frustrated with the Palestinian leadership in recent months, in particular over its relative quiet since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory at the beginning of October.

The PA has maintained security coordination with Israel since its establishment under the Oslo Accords, and many critics have accused the Palestinian leadership of enabling Israel’s military occupation, and, recently, of preventing a sustained uprising against it.

Since December, PA security forces have prevented demonstrators from reaching a military post near the illegal Beit El settlement near Ramallah on a near-weekly basis -- last week using flying checkpoints and blockades.

The week before, Palestinian security forces assaulted journalists attempting to cover the PA’s prevention of demonstrators, leading Palestinian media rights group MADA to launch an investigation, demanding the PA hold security forces accountable for press violations.

Israel’s security cabinet has reportedly met several times in recent weeks to discuss the potential collapse of the PA as a result of the current unrest, Palestine's economic crisis, and a political crisis among the Palestinian leadership.

Earlier this week, the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "plotting" against the PA after he suggested its collapse may be imminent.
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