JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy has made "an unequivocal demand" to the Palestinian Authority to quell a wave of protests in the West Bank, the government said on Sunday.
Netanyahu has also ordered the transfer of January arrears of tax revenues that Israel collects on the behalf of the Palestinians but has been withholding, the government said in a statement.
"Israel passed an unequivocal demand to the Palestinian Authority to calm down the territory," through his personal envoy Yitzhak Molcho, it said.
"In order that the non-payment of taxes that Israel collects for the Palestinians should not serve as an excuse for the Palestinian Authority not to calm the territory, Netanyahu instructed the money for January to be transferred, (December's money was paid last month)," it added.
Protests in the West Bank have been mounting, both in support of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and against settlement expansion.
Israeli media have linked both the increased unrest and Israel's concerns about possible escalation to next month's visit to the Jewish state and the Palestinians by US President Barack Obama.
"The political establishment is counting on the Palestinian Authority not to allow things to boil over on the ground, at least not until after US President Barack Obama's visit to Israel is over," the Yediot Aharonot newspaper said on Sunday.
"Officials in Jerusalem will begin to look for all kinds of ways to appease the Palestinians and to cool tempers on the ground."