Israel: ‘No ‘no-go zone’ in West Bank as Palestinians prepare to march for Israel
Israel will not tolerate the return of a “no-no” zone, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, in the latest in a series of announcements in the wake of a recent wave of violence in the occupied West Bank.
In an address to the nation, Netanyahu said his government would take the necessary measures to prevent Palestinian incitement and violence.
The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday evening.
While a no-go area is a legal term for Israeli territory, Palestinians consider it an offensive reference to the Jewish state.
In recent weeks, a wave of anti-Israeli violence has erupted in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli settlers being killed and scores injured.
A wave of attacks has also hit Israel, with the government announcing that it will expand security measures at the borders with Jordan and Egypt.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the government was “preparing to move to full military action” in the event that “any attack against the state of Israel” occurs.
Netanyahu also warned that “the continuation of incitement by the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza will lead to further escalation and a new wave of terror against Israel”.
The prime minister said that Israel’s security forces would respond to any incitement from Palestinian groups.
“We have always been clear that our policy is to prevent incitement of hatred,” he said.
“We will act in a responsible manner.
We will not permit Palestinian incitements to be directed at the state.”
In a series a few days ago, Netanyahu accused Palestinian leaders of inciting the recent wave in violence and of being involved in the plot to “bring the Israelis into the fire.”
Netanyahu’s statement on Sunday came hours after Palestinians took to the streets in the Palestinian territories capital, Ramallah, in protest against what they see as Israel’s continued occupation of the West bank and East, and of a lack of progress towards a lasting peace agreement.
Earlier on Sunday in the northern West Bank, a Palestinian teenager was shot dead in a confrontation with Israeli forces near the Gaza border.
In the latest flare-up in violence, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said on Saturday that a Palestinian man who had allegedly tried to stab two Israeli soldiers with a knife was shot and killed after he turned and stabbed one of the officers.
The Shin Bet, which said the incident took place near the border with Gaza, said the suspect, who was not identified, “was shot and wounded by the soldiers, who shot at him and took him into custody.”
The two soldiers, aged 25 and 24, were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, the agency said.
Israel has been at the forefront of efforts to prevent the return to violence following months of protests in the East Jerusalem and West Bank that have seen hundreds of people, mostly young, killed in confrontations with Israeli security forces.
Last month, Israel and the Palestinians reached a deal that saw the return in some parts of East Jerusalem to a status of “legitimate” after a three-year-long moratorium on the city’s settlement expansion.
In a statement issued after the deal was signed, the Palestinian Authority said that “after years of violence and terror against the Palestinian people and the international community, the two sides will once again make a deal and move towards a peaceful and durable solution that will ensure the security of the State of Israel, and will guarantee the right of the Palestinians to self-determination.”
Israel says the agreement will ensure that the Palestinians will have a state of their own in the land they want, and it said it would work to “restore calm” and “restrain” Palestinian violence.
The deal, which has not been ratified by the United Nations, was reached in the last days of the Israeli government’s presidency.
Israel says that while it has no plans to expand settlements in the contested area, it will continue to protect them and the security and political interests of Israel.
Israel’s right-wing government has frequently denounced what it sees as incitement directed at Israel from Palestinian leaders.
The Palestinians, however, have long been skeptical of the government’s claims, which they view as political pressure aimed at achieving a two-state solution.