In a meeting that took place on Sunday in Egypt, the representatives of Israel and Palestine agreed to adopt measures to reduce tensions and violence during Ramadan, the holy month for the Islamic religion, which begins this week. Not many details were provided on the agreement: a joint statement speaks of the establishment of “a mechanism to curb and counter violence”. The most concrete commitment is that of Israel to interrupt for four months the establishment of new settlements (the so-called “colonies”) in the Palestinian territories: however, it is seen more than anything else as symbolic and it is not yet clear whether it will be able to have the effects hoped.
In fact, Israel recently approved the construction of thousands of new homes in the Palestinian territories, and it is likely that it had no plans to approve more in the immediate future. A similar meeting, with similar declarations, was held last February 26 in Jordan and was immediately followed by new episodes of violence. Sunday’s meeting was held in Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea in the presence of US, Egyptian and Jordanian representatives.
Palestinians are largely Muslims and Ramadan is generally a very delicate period: in recent years, for example, clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians around the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem have been frequent. There are many concerns above all because in recent months the clashes have been very tense and violent, especially in the West Bank, a territory considered Palestinian by the international community but de facto occupied by Israel. Over the past year, Israeli forces have arrested thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and killed more than 200, while Palestinian attacks on Israelis have killed around 40 people.
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