Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Wednesday that the Israeli military would continue to operate in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas if the P.A. fails to maintain security there.

“I conveyed this message again today to P.A. leadership: We will not allow armed men who seek to murder Israelis to roam around freely. We will pursue and stop them,” he said. “We demand that the Palestinian Authority not only speak out against terrorism but also act against it. The spread of weapons and lack of governance are harming both the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority itself.”

Gantz made his comments after attending a situation assessment by the Israel Defense Forces’ Intelligence Division amid a surge in Palestinian terrorist activity and concern that the P.A. is losing control in those parts of Judea and Samaria that are under its security jurisdiction.

On Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said that the P.A. was increasingly unable to rein in terror, a reality that was forcing Israel to intensify its own actions.

Kochavi noted that the IDF had launched “Operation Breakwater” in March due to a “sharp increase” in the number of terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria. As part of this operation, some 1,500 wanted Palestinians have been apprehended so far, and hundreds of attacks prevented, he said.

“Part of the increase in attacks is due to the inability of Palestinian security forces to properly govern in certain areas of the Judea and Samaria region. As a result, these areas become fertile ground for the growth of terrorism,” he continued.

 
JNS

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