Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Shtayyeh, declared Area C of the West Bank an "integral part of the State of Palestine" in statements made to his cabinet on Monday, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Shtayyeh recently created a ministerial committee in the Palestinian Authority to promote Palestinian development in Area C, which includes about 60% of the West Bank and according to the Oslo Accords, is under the IDF's military and civilian control.
The Knesset Land of Israel Caucus, headed by Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chair MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party), and MK Limor Son Har-Melech (Jewish Power), in response slammed Shtayyeh's statements.
"The words of Mohammed Shtayyeh this morning are a wake-up call for Prime Minister Netanyahu and the cabinet ministers. This morning, the Palestinian Prime Minister openly announced the intention of the Palestinian Authority and all its bodies and offices to violate the agreements and continue to take control of Area C."
"If we don't wake up, we don't increase enforcement, and we don't stop the PA in these actions, it will be a tragedy for generations. The Jewish people have a natural, historical, and legal right to the entire Land of Israel – from the south to the north. Even Mohammed Shtayyeh will not be able to oppose this basic truth," the statement read.
All of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria, are located within Area C. The Israeli government has stepped up the destruction of illegally erected Palestinian structures there in recent months, which is attributed to its right-wing members who support the settlement movement and the eventual annexation of the area to Israel.
The renewed discussion about Area C comes amid intensifying negotiations between the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel over a peace agreement.
Saudi Arabia is demanding Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, who initially wanted full statehood, as part of any deal. Times of Israel reported that the U.S. instead introduced the idea of transferring parts of Area C to Area B or Area A, which is under the PA's authority.
Recent reports indicate that Saudi Arabia won't insist on full Palestinian statehood, instead being satisfied with an Israeli pledge to ease certain restrictions.
This article originally appeared on All Israel News and is reposted with permission.