In a further demonstration of Palestinian Authority intransigence, the mayor of Bethlehem on Sunday issued an order barring direct contact with Israel.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Mayor Abdel Fattah Hamayel, angered by ongoing efforts by Israeli organizations to open dialogue and cooperation with counterparts on the Palestinian side, declared that all municipal councils, trade institutions and NGOs in the Bethlehem area strictly forbidden from talking to the Israelis.
"In wake of repeated Israeli calls to deal directly with Palestinian municipalities and institutions and hold meetings and conferences with the Israeli side, it is forbidden to have direct contact or coordination with Israel," said Hamayel.
Hamayel and other Palestinian Authority officials want all contact between Palestinians and Israelis to only go through the PA's District Coordinating Office, and has condemned any external contact as "promoting normalization."
This development would seem to further contradict assertions that Israel is to blame for the lack of coexistence in the area.