Israel suggested to the PLO in east Jerusalem that they establish a special community police unit in order to preserve law and order in the refugee camps in Arab neighborhoods, including preventing attacks against Israelis, according to a report in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida on Wednesday.
The paper quotes Israeli sources as saying that, in return for the establishment of the local police force, Israel would cease to send its security forces into Old City neighborhoods, the Shuafat refugee camp and Anata, without prior coordination with the active PLO forces in the area.
The sources said that Israel intends to grant Palestinians in Jerusalem and the surrounding neighborhoods "autonomy," in security and organizational arrangements in cooperation with Israel.
Sources in east Jerusalem say that they are currently reviewing the Israeli proposal, and they plan to pass it on to the Palestinian leadership and PA president Mahmoud Abbas.
The newspaper claims that the Israeli initiative came as part of the Netanyahu government's efforts to minimize Palestinian attacks in the Jerusalem area and to decrease tensions in the holy city.
Palestinian sources contend that the proposal is an Israeli attempt to shirk its responsibility for Jerusalem's Arab residents in the refugee camps outside the city who hold Israeli identification cards. They further emphasized that these Arabs are Israeli residents, but not citizens, and are therefore forced to fly using temporary Jordanian passports.
An Israeli security source described the move as official Israeli recognition of the division of Jerusalem, despite the fact that successive Israeli governments have said that both the eastern and western areas of the city were part of Israel's eternal capital.
He estimated that the move would bring humiliation for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government, which has been dealing with a "mini-intifada" since October 2015 that has resulted in the murders of 25 Israelis and an American in stabbings, car-ramming attacks and shootings. In the same period 148 Palestinians, most of whom were attackers, have been killed.
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