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Israeli escalation in West Bank damaged ties with Arabs

Tel Aviv, Jun 30 (Prensa Latina) The military campaign in the occupied Palestinian territories carried out by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, since the beginning of the year, caused a freeze in relations between Israel and several Arab countries, the Haaretz newspaper noted.

The newspaper highlighted that since the beginning of 2023, there is “a clear decrease in visits by senior Israeli officials to Arab countries in light of the escalation in the West Bank.”

During the first six months of his new administration, Netanyahu only visited Jordan, while his predecessor, Naftali Bennett, traveled to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt over the same period last year.

Haaretz indicated that, although Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Sudan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, he is yet to make any official visit to Arab countries, although his predecessor Yair Lapid toured the Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.

The newspaper considered that the situation is motivated by the escalation of violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The tension and clashes have increased since the coming to power in Israel of a far-right coalition, which includes Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, among its members,and who promote an openly racist and anti-Arab discourse. The operations of the Palestinian militias also increased in light of this situation.

According to the Israeli daily Maariv, the Palestinians carried out 167 attacks on the roads of the occupied West Bank since the beginning of the year, 114 more than on the same date in 2022. It also specified that since January 1st, there have been 369 stone-throwing incidents, 147 involving Molotov cocktails, and another 85 was in the usage of homemade explosive devices.

“The situation is far from ideal,” admitted Major General Shumer Israel, head of the Defense Forces Operations Department, during a speech before the subcommittee on Foreign Affairs and Security of the Parliament of Israel.