Israel on Tuesday permitted Palestinians to move out of the Old City in Jerusalem’s occupied Old City, despite a ban imposed by the United Nations that prohibits any such move.
The move comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
A joint statement issued by the two sides on Monday night said that the joint decision to allow Palestinians “to leave the Old Port” of Jerusalem was made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who both signed the agreement.
Israel has long been a key player in the United States-led peace process in the Middle East.
The statement said that “the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action is in accordance with the principles of the United Nation Charter and the Law of the Land, which guarantees the rights of every Palestinian.”
The United States and the European Union have imposed a number of restrictions on the Israeli-Palestinian agreement, including the so-called “two-state solution,” a status quo that has seen the two countries remain in relative peace for decades, and the “status quo plus,” which aims to achieve a two-state settlement that would include the occupied West Bank.
However, the two-states process has been criticized by Palestinians, including Abbas, for being insufficiently fair and for not giving Palestinians a seat at the table in the negotiations that led to the current status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The new agreement, if approved, would also allow Palestinians living in the occupied Old Town of Jerusalem to move into the Old Town, as well as the Old Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
The Old City of Jerusalem is home to the Western Wall, which is revered by Jews as the holiest place in Judaism, and is a major pilgrimage site for many Muslims and Christians.
The Israeli government has repeatedly warned that it will not allow any Palestinian residents of the area to leave the city’s Old Quarter, including Jews and Christians, who have lived there since the Ottoman Empire ruled the area in the 18th century.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, when it annexed the West Wall, and later handed over the eastern part of the city to the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as a future state alongside the occupied Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip, where the Jewish state’s illegal military blockade has forced many to seek shelter in Israeli-run buildings.
Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, are currently at war.
Israel says it has no intention of giving Palestinians land in the Old and Western Quarters.
However, a number Palestinians living there have asked the UN to take action to prevent their right of return to East Jerusalem.
Israel is a key ally of the U.S.-led international effort to achieve an independent Palestinian state.
But its stance on the two areas has become increasingly strained, with the U.-S.
president Donald Trump pledging to move the U-N.
peace process forward with the release of the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.