The security cabinet is expected to convene on Sunday to discuss economic gestures for Palestinians that would help bolster the flailing Palestinian Authority, according to media reports.
Israel has been under pressure from the United States to do more to help shore up the PA economically by increasing efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank.
The meeting comes less than a week after Israel’s two-day military campaign in Jenin to destroy terror infrastructure and in the aftermath of three terror attacks in recent weeks.
Among the gestures under consideration, according to Channel 13, would be a new industrial zone in the West Bank and an advancement in the development of the Gaza Marine natural gas field, which is located about 30 kilometers off the Gaza coast.
The Marine gas field is estimated to hold over a trillion cubic feet of natural gas, much more than is needed to power the Palestinian territories and some of which could potentially be exported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s policy has been to economically penalize the PA in the face of terror attacks. The government holds that the authority can do more to crack down on terror and that it must halt its monthly stipends to terrorists and their families. There are those in the government who believe that the PA must be disbanded altogether.
Conference on the PA's stability
In an interview with Channel 11 on Saturday night, National Security Advisor Tzahi Hanegbi said that one of the PA’s central missions is to battle terror, but that it has failed to do so in Jenin and Nablus.
“We have spoken with them about this” in the two summits that were held this year in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh. Officials attending those summits represented Israel, the PA, Jordan, Egypt and the United States.
It’s in Israel’s interest to prevent the PA from collapsing, Hanegbi said.
Separately, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin late Thursday night.
“Austin underscored the United States’ ironclad support for Israel’s security and right to defend its people against terrorist groups,” according to his office.
He expressed his condolences for the loss of Israelis in terror attacks but he also expressed his “deep concern over the recent escalation of violence in the West Bank, including extremist settler attacks against Palestinian civilians.”
Austin also stressed the importance of “Israeli and Palestinian leaders” working “together to de-escalate the situation and to take tangible steps to strengthen security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”