How the EU Helps the Palestinian Authority Violate the Oslo Accords

Last month, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it would cease to respect the Oslo Accords’ division of the West Bank into Area A (administered directly by the PA), Area B (under shared Israel-PA control), and Area C (under Israeli control). In practical terms, doing so means building homes in Area C and settling Palestinians there. Hillel Frisch notes that the European Union has been helping Ramallah do just that for several years:

In July 2011, a report entitled “Area C and Palestinian State Building” was produced by the EU. It was then brought to the European Parliament in December and approved by the European Commission in early January 2012. . . . In April 2012, the PA’s Ministry of Local Government published a strategic action plan entitled “Planning Support for Palestinian Communities in Area C.” The EU announced its support for this plan in an official document published in 2012 called “Land Development and Access to Basic Infrastructure in Area C.”

By 2016, the European Community had spent a total of 10.5 million euros to draw up and implement zoning plans for 90 Palestinian settlements and support land-development projects in Area C in conjunction with the PA. Such aid is explicitly envisioned not only as helping marginalized communities but as part of a blueprint to assist Palestinian state-building.

The objective is clear: to create continuous Arab settlement from the south to the north of the West Bank, while simultaneously thwarting Israeli designs to create continuous neighborhoods from [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem. . . . As new Israeli building dwindles to insignificance in areas east of Jerusalem, the PA, with European help, has succeeded in housing tens of thousands in a space no larger than 3.5 square miles. This population is more than double the number of inhabitants in Ma’ale Adumim and the other Israeli localities in the area.

One might hope that such efforts would at least serve to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians who move into the new housing, but that is not the case:

Palestinian strategic settlement in the area comes at the expense of the quality of life of the new residents of these . . . sprawling developments. . . . The single road to traverse the vast urban expanse is only two lanes wide [and thus] is continuously clogged. . . . Fire trucks would find it impossible to reach the scene in the event of even a small emergency, let alone an earthquake. Garbage burns in the open with devastating health effects on the inhabitants of the development as well as in the nearby Jerusalem neighborhoods of Isawiyyah and French Hill.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: EU, Oslo Accords, Palestinian Authority, West Bank


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security