Palestinian Minister Meets Senior Israeli Officials at Behest of Egypt and Jordan

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh says he discussed settler aggressiveness and raids on Palestinian towns

Jack Khoury
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of Fatah movement's advisory council in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 9, 2018.
Jack Khoury

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh met Monday with senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem to discuss increasing tensions in the West Bank.

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Sheikh told the Palestinian news agency Maan that the meeting took place at the behest of Egypt and Jordan to prevent the situation from further deteriorating, saying that both countries had hurriedly asked Israel for the meeting in an attempt to calm the situation.

>> West Bank spirals into violence as Hamas ups efforts to orchestrate attacks | Analysis

According to al-Sheikh, he spoke with his interlocutors about Israeli statements condemning the Palestinian Authority and Abbas, which he called incitement, as well as about settler aggressiveness and about the raids on Palestinian population centers.

He added that he had conveyed to Israel that the situation in PA-controlled areas was no longer tolerable, and that the agreements between Israel and the PA were being put to the test. If the escalation continued, he said, they might turn out to be irrelevant.

Last week saw several violent incidents in the West Bank, including two shootings near settlements that targeted Israelis: One that killed an infant and another that that killed two soldiers. Defense officials believe the same Hamas cell was behind both incidents. In another attack in the West Bank, a soldier was seriously wounded when a Palestinian stabbed him and threw a rock at him.

On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with King Abdullah of Jordan amid the escalating violence.