PNN / Bethlehem
The former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, Yoram Cohen, warned of the annexation of so-called “Area C” in the West Bank to Israel, would lead to “an unnecessary bloodbath”.
“Steps should be taken to reduce the occupation in the West Bank, improve transportation, improve work, and transfer areas from Area B to Area A, which is entirely under the control of the Palestinian Authority,” Cohen said.
Area B is under Palestinian civilian control and Israeli security control. Area C, which accounts for 60 percent of the West Bank, is under full Israeli control under the Oslo Accords. Earlier this week, the Israeli cabinet approved a plan to build 6,000 housing units in Israeli settlements in area C and only 700 housing units for Palestinians.
Cohen referred to the armed clash at the security fence in the eastern Gaza Strip last night, during which Hamas fighter Hani Abu Salah was killed when two officers and two soldiers were moderately wounded. “The state is investing billions in manpower, technology and intelligence to prevent such events. But in this case the work was done well. ”
He added that launching an Israeli attack against the Gaza Strip in the wake of such an operation could lead to another round in which hundreds of rockets were fired at the “Gaza envelope” (the region of Israel surrounding the Gaza strip). “Our deterrence may have been damaged by the fact that we did not want to degenerate into a major battle or a war,” he said.
Cohen added that, during the Gaza offensive in 2014, “we did not know the places of the tunnels on the Israeli side, and we were not able to correctly estimate the intentions of the other side for the war.”