Israeli officials have announced a decision to press ahead with their incursions into the West Bank areas under the Palestinian Authority’s watch amid heightened tensions there.
The decision was made during a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon and military chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot on Wednesday.
In a statement released following the meeting, the premier’s office said the attendees made it clear that the Israeli military “maintains -- and will maintain -- the possibility of entering Area A, and anywhere necessary, according to operational needs.”
Area A refers to approximately 18 percent of the West Bank, which is officially under full Palestinian civil and security jurisdiction. However, Israeli forces have regularly stormed this region in violation of Palestinian sovereignty.
The development comes despite reported talks earlier this month between Palestinian and Israeli authorities over putting an end to near-daily Israeli raids in Area A.
Israeli troops routinely ransack and destroy the homes belonging to Palestinians who the Tel Aviv regime accuses of committing deadly anti-Israeli attacks in the occupied territories.
Rights groups say the demolition of Palestinian homes is in line with Israel’s policy of expanding its illegal settlements and land theft.
In late March, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Israel of a “bloody” Palestinian Intifada (uprising) should the regime fail to stop its military operations in the areas administered by Palestinian officials.
Abbas further slammed Tel Aviv for constant violations of the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 and 1995 by storming Palestinian cities without restriction.
Fresh Israeli raids on Palestinian areas
In another development early on Thursday, Israeli forces carried out raids on two metal workshops, a carpentry workshop, several stores and homes in the city of al-Eizariya and the town of Abu Dis in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian Red Crescent medics said 16 Palestinians sustained injuries during the clashes, including four who were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets and 12 who suffered from tear gas suffocation.
Israeli forces also detained a young Palestinian at one of the workshops.
The occupied territories have been the scene of escalating tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
The Palestinians say Tel Aviv seeks to change the status quo of the holy Muslim site.
At least 210 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in what is regarded as the third Palestinian Intifada since the beginning of last October.