The Israeli government has recently declared a freeze on Palestinian construction, a measure targeted at punishing the Palestinian Authority. This move comes in response to the Palestinian Authority’s recent decision to postpone parts of the economic, security and political deal they made with Israel.

The Israeli government has been vocal in its displeasure with the Palestinians’ decision. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated the freeze was “ a measured step that was taken in light of the Palestinian violation of signed agreements.” Many of the projects that were censored were either funded or planned by Palestinians in line with their plans for statehood. These projects include but are not limited to a commercial center in Hebron, a new bus line in the West Bank and construction of a new security facility in Bethlehem.

The Palestinian Authority has responded to this news with outrage. According to Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian negotiator, the decision is “destructive and another violation of international law.” He then went on to emphasize that Israel’s “unilateral moves and lack of political will was preventing any possibility of peace.”

This is not the first instance that the Israeli government has made such moves. In March 2018, Israel delivered demolition warnings on Palestinian-funded projects in East Jerusalem. Similarly, there have been instances of Israel freezing funding to the Palestinian Authority due to their refusal to accept terms of the economic and security deal.

It seems that the Israeli government is making a definitive statement: if Palestinians do not adhere to the terms of the peace deal, then stiff punishments will be in order. Many are concerned about what this could mean for the future of the peace deal.

Ultimately the punitive freeze on Palestinian construction shows the diminishing level of trust between the two sides. In order for a diplomatic solution to be reached, both sides must be willing to compromise and respect past agreements. Without mutual trust and compromise, it is unlikely a lasting peace deal can be reached.

Israel has announced a freeze on Palestinian construction in Area C, which covers around 60 percent of the occupied West Bank, as part of a series of measures against the Palestinian leadership.

Area C, which is fully controlled by Israel, covers around 60 percent of the West Bank [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel’s new cabinet has blocked all Palestinian Construction in Area C of the occupied West Bank as part of a series of punitive actions against the Palestinian leadership. 

The actions, announced by the Prime Minster’s office on Friday, are in retaliation for the Palestinian Authority approaching the International Court of Justice over Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. 

Area C covers 60 percent of the West Bank, and is under full civilian and military control of Israel. An estimated 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C, where they are routinely subject to harassment, arrests, and home demolitions by Israeli forces. 

The cabinet decision is part of a series of measures to reduce funding for the PA and “take action against organizations that promote hostile activity, including political-legal activity against Israel under the guise of humanitarian activity,” according to Israeli outlet Haaretz

“The present government will not accept the Palestinian Authority’s political and legal war against the State of Israel with open arms, and will respond as necessary,” the cabinet decision stated. 

The cabinet decision comes a week after the United Nations General Assembly voted to approve a resolution requesting that the International Court of Justice render an opinion on the legality of Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The development underscores the hard-line approach that Israel’s new extreme right-wing government is taking against the Palestinians, which will likely lead to a rise in violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 

Israel’s new government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, is the most right-wing in its history, according to analysts. It includes Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, extremist settlers who have called for an Israeli annexation of the West Bank. 

Netanyahu’s election came at the end of a terrible year for the Palestinians. 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005, according to UN figures.

More than 200 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza last year.


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