The Palestinian Authority has banned Palestinian contact with Israel’s military.

The PA has ordered Palestinians not to visit or contact the Israel-Palestinian District Coordination Office, which provides permits for work or medical treatment in Israel. The PA directive called for Palestinians to submit any requests to the PA.

“It is completely forbidden to deal directly with the Israeli side,” PA Gov. Abdul Fatah Hamayel said on April 16. “This decision is in the context
of preserving public and national interests and for the convenience of all Palestinians.”

The PA order began in the Bethlehem district and would be implemented throughout the West Bank over the coming months. Bethlehem is located outside Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, and a key market for Palestinian labor.

Hamayel, the PA governor of Bethlehem, said any Palestinian found to be in direct contact with the Israeli military would be punished. He also imposed a ban on bringing Israeli agricultural products in Bethlehem.

PA sources say that Israel was using the joint coordination offices, established in 1994, to undermine the regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

They said Israeli military and security officers were exploiting Palestinian applications for intelligence recruitment.

“They want to infiltrate Palestinian society,” Hamayel said.

The PA was concerned over the poor turnout for anti-Israeli demonstrations in 2012 in what was called the “Third Intifada.” They said leading tribes in the southern West Bank were quietly cooperating with Israeli authorities to maintain order in such cities as Bethlehem and Hebron.

On April 16, a former PA minister said he supported Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers. Ashraf Al Ajarmi told a conference at Israel’s Bar-Ilan
University said the Palestinians would soon become the majority throughout Israeli-controlled territories.

“As a human being I condemn all acts of violence against civilians, but not against soldiers,” Al Ajarmi said. “I myself fought against the Israeli
military in Lebanon, and I’m proud of it.”