Palestinians, Israelis agree to de-escalate tension, advance peace, stability

People run to take cover during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, on Jan. 26, 2023. (Photo by Ayman Nobani/Xinhua)

The Palestinian National Authority and Israel reaffirmed their commitment on Sunday to advancing security, stability and peace for both Palestinians and Israelis.

According to a communique released after a meeting between officials from the two sides, Egypt, Jordan and the United States in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, the parties recognized the necessity of de-escalation on the ground, the prevention of further violence, as well as of pursuing confidence-building measures, and addressing outstanding issues through direct dialogue.

Israel and the Palestinian National Authority also reaffirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for 3-6 months.

This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months, according to the communique.

The two sides also affirmed their unwavering commitment to all previous agreements between them, particularly the legal right of the Palestinian National Authority to carry out the security responsibilities in Area (A) of the West Bank, in accordance with existing agreements, and will work together towards achieving this goal.

They also agreed to develop a mechanism to curb and counter violence, incitement, and inflammatory statements and actions.

The parties also reiterated the commitment of maintaining the historic status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem, both in word and in practice, and reaffirmed the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship of Jordan.

They highlighted the need for both Israelis and Palestinians to take proactive measures to thwart any actions that would disrupt the sanctity of these sites during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which coincides with Easter and Passover this year.

The parties reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the meetings under this format, noting they will convene again in Egypt.

The five-party meeting is a continuation of discussions that took place on Feb. 26 in Jordan that worked on paving the road for resuming the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The tension between Israel and Palestinians has been rising since the start of this year. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 89 Palestinians have been killed so far this year by Israeli soldiers, while official Israeli figures show that 14 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians.