Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to put into action a U.S. security plan aimed at reasserting P.A. control over the cities of Jenin and Nablus in Samaria.
“During his meeting with Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday, Blinken stressed that one of the most important steps the P.A. needs to take in order to de-escalate the security situation is to accept and implement a security plan that was drafted by U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Michael Fenzel,” the Axios news site reported, citing American and Israeli officials.
Jenin and Nablus have become “centers of unrest,” as control has slipped from the P.A.’s grasp and terrorist groups associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas have stepped in.
Fenzel’s plan sets out how P.A. security forces can retake control over Samaria, or the northern West Bank, including the training and deployment of a special Palestinian force to counter the “militias,” officials told the website.
“Fenzel presented his plan to the Israeli government and to the P.A. several weeks ago,” Axios reported.
Israel backed the plan but the P.A. said it was problematic as it didn’t include demands from Israel, such as reducing IDF operations in those cities.
The P.A. said the plan also didn’t take into consideration the need to build public support for such an operation.
Tensions have heightened between Israel and the P.A. since an IDF arrest raid in Jenin in which nine were killed— eight terrorists and a civilian—followed by two terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, including one at a synagogue in which seven Israeli civilians were slain.