IDF Considers Lifting Ban on Jews Entering PA-Controlled Areas

By Amos Harel (Haaretz)

Published July 18, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The army is considering revoking a ban on Jews entering West Bank cities that are under Palestinian Authority control, in view of significant improvement in security and in Israel’s coordination with Palestinian security services.

The Palestinian Authority is interested in having Israelis visit Palestinian-controlled West Bank cities and their environs, designated as Area A, because it could signal the resumption of trade and tourism, which would boost the Palestinian economy.

Israel and the PA are cooperating more closely on security matters now than they have been since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1994, an Israeli defense source familiar with Israeli-Palestinian ties over the past 15 years said last night.

“For the first time, the parties are operating on an equal basis - not as leader and follower, as it had been over the years,” the source said. “The main reason is that both sides have a shared enemy. The PA is concerned about Hamas no less than us, and is interested in improving its control on the ground to prevent Hamas from threatening its rule and the calm that has been achieved.”

The Israel Defense Forces barred Israelis citizens from Palestinian-controlled West Bank cities in late 2000, following the outbreak of the second intifada and the abduction and murder of several Israelis who entered those areas, whether voluntarily or not. Three years ago, the army began allowing Israeli Arabs to enter Area A.

A month ago, the IDF allowed Israeli tourists and tour guides to take a bus into Bethlehem, the first time the army approved such a trip in a decade, and GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi is now considering allowing Israelis to enter all of Area A.

If such a recommendation is made by the army, it is highly likely that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi will approve the decision.

Mizrahi visited Jericho on Thursday, the first such visit by an officer of his rank since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000. Mirzahi and officers under his command, including officers in the Civil Administration, were guests of the heads of the Palestinian security services.

The Israeli guests were given a demonstration of Palestinian security capabilities and observed an exercise in which security officials protected a motorcade of VIPs against an attempted drive-by shooting.

Mizrahi invited his Palestinian hosts to observe a similar exercise at Central Command.

Even before the IDF allowed the Bethlehem visit, Israeli Jews have been entering Area A without authorization, especially as the number of terror attacks declined in recent years. In most cases, though, the Palestinian police have removed Jewish visitors and handed them over to the Israel Defense Forces.






Find us on Facebook!
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.