by: Joshua Spurlock, The Mideast Update
Area A, Area B and Area C—no, these are not part of a children’s rhyme or spy codenames. They are actually terms referring to who controls what in Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank), which has had a major impact on Israel’s security in the last 20 years. Originally intended to be a roadmap for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Areas A, B and C are now raising serious security concerns. However, they continue to be a topic for potential territorial compromise by Israel to try and restart peace talks. It’s not as basic as the alphabet, but these names do highlight the fundamental questions of how Israel can finally achieve peace.
What Are They?
Areas A, B and C were originally part of the Oslo Accords Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in 1995. According to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, Area A was designed to be a territory inside Judea and Samaria in which the Palestinian government was to hold the powers of “internal security and public order.” In layman’s terms, that’s “full Palestinian civil and security control” according to a map published in 2011 by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In Area B, the agreement said the Palestinian government was to hold “responsibility for public order,” while the Israelis were to have the “overriding responsibility” for protecting Israelis and fighting terrorism. OCHA called that “joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.” Areas A and B, then, were intended to be under Palestinian civil control, and include places like Nablus (the biblical city of Shechem), Bethlehem and part of Hebron.
Area C, meanwhile, refers to the remaining territory in Judea and Samaria, including settlements. The intent was that it all was to be transferred to the Palestinians, pending the status of negotiations. Without a final agreement, and following years of conflict, that full territorial transfer never happened. In 2011, OCHA described Area C as “full Israeli control over security, planning and construction.”
So declaring Areas A, B and C, in effect formalized control of territory into Palestinian hands and in some cases handed over security powers as well. Had things gone as planned, Israel would have eventually given up even more.
SOURCE: Bridges for Peace