Israel announced on Monday it would end its Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank and allow Palestinian visitors to visit the city.
“We will not build new settlements on the Palestinian side of the Green Line,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech.
“We are withdrawing from the West bank in order to ensure that no settlement will be built on the Arab side of it.”
“The Israeli occupation will end,” Netanyahu said.
He added that Israel would begin “a process of negotiations” with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu has long accused the Palestinians of building illegal outposts and has threatened to end settlement construction in the West, despite international efforts to stop it.
The announcement was greeted with dismay by the Palestinian government, which is calling it “illegal” and “unacceptable”.
“We welcome the decision by Israel to withdraw from its illegal occupation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said in an email.
“The Israeli government is following its democratic obligation to respect the right of the Palestinians to self-determination.”
Abu Rdian said that Israel was taking measures to “preserve the viability of the Palestinian people and its national unity”.
“The right of return to Palestine will continue,” he said.
Israel has been in a power struggle with the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the occupied territories since last year, and has imposed a number of restrictions on Palestinian access to the West.
It also has a long-standing conflict with the Islamic State (IS) group, which has established a presence in the occupied Palestinian territories.