Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasHadas Parush/Flash 90

Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) sources revealed on Friday that covert talks being held with Israel are not only discussing a pullout of the IDF from Ramallah and Jericho, but indeed from all Arab cities in Judea and Samaria. 

Early last month, Haaretz revealed that secret contacts were being held between top IDF brass and senior PA sources about removing the IDF presence from the two cities, without government ministers or the Security Cabinet being informed.

Following outrage over the revelation, just this Wednesday the Security Cabinet was given its first official update on the talks, with a political source telling Arutz Sheva that the very fact the talks were being held was a "prize to terror," as the talks are only being held due to the pressure of the ongoing Arab terror wave.

According to the senior PA sources who spoke to Walla! on Friday, the PA rejected an Israeli proposal to withdraw the IDF from Ramallah and Jericho and then consider leaving other cities, and instead is demanding that the withdrawal include all Arab cities in the region according to a time table agreed on by both sides.

In making its demands, the PA is threatening to cut off the security cooperation of its Security Forces with the IDF, a threat frequently repeated by the PA. The PA as well as its Security Forces were created and armed in the 1994 Oslo Accords.

The PA sources said that in recent days intensive discussions are being held, although it remains to be seen how the Israeli political echelon will respond to the Palestinian demands.

A number of meetings have been held in recent weeks between senior members of the security establishment in Israel and their counterparts in the PA, with representatives of the Israeli Security Agency, IDF Central Commander Roni Numa, and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai all taking part.

In recent days Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Saeb Erekat issued an ultimatum, saying Israel has two weeks to respond to the Palestinian demands.

The IDF for its part has said that the security cooperation is continuing, and that the discussion is not over a complete ending of military activities because in specific instances such as "ticking time bombs" the IDF would be able to act in the cities under discussion.

Ramallah and Jericho are two cities in Area A of Judea and Samaria designated as being under the PA's administrative and security control according to the Oslo Accords. However, the IDF was forced to reenter and take back control during 2002 Operation Defensive Shield amid the Second Intifada terror war.