Photo: AP
Mahmoud Abbas: Wants full control
Photo: AP
Ehud Olmert. Hamas denounced meeting
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Palestinians to request control over West Bank cities

Palestinian official tells Ynet that Abbas is scheduled to ask Olmert in Sunday's meeting that Israel hand over responsibility over West Bank towns to Palestinians; PA security forces training to handle anarchy

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during their meeting Sunday that Israel hand over control over several West Bank towns to the Palestinians, a PA official told Ynet.


The official added that the Palestinian Authority had already prepared a comprehensive security scheme so that they could receive control.


"We will present our plan to the Israelis. It clarifies how we intend to impose order and security in the towns that Israel would be willing to hand over to us," he said, "including what we plan to do regarding all the wanted people in these places."


He refused to detail which cities were included in the request, but Ynet has found that Abbas and the delegation will initially ask for control over Ramallah, where the Muqata'a and Abbas's offices are, and Bethlehem, which is regarded as a relatively peaceful town. Later on, the Palestinians will also ask for control over another town in the north of the West Bank: Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Nablus or Jenin.


The IDF enters these towns frequently to deal with specific incidents or to arrest wanted men although the forces are not permanently stationed in the towns.

Riots in Ramallah. Palestinians: We can handle them (Photo courtesy of AFP)


Preparing to fight anarchy

Recently, the Palestinian security forces have been preparing for the possibility that they will receive control over the cities. Over the last few weeks, an extensive crackdown on criminal activity such as car theft, drug dealing and building violations has been taking place in the Palestinian Authority. The operation has been branded a success.


Yet, anarchy still rules the streets as far as security is concerned. The Palestinian government has discussed a three-stage plan to deal with it.


Muhammad Dahlan, national security advisor to the Palestinians is responsible for the program. Security forces have been going through intensive training to prepare them for fighting those responsible for the anarchy.


Lately, without informing the media, Israel has agreed that the Palestinian security forces carry arms within the cities. The Palestinians hope that this step indicates Israel's readiness to gradually transfer security control of West Bank towns to the Palestinians.


PA officials said that Abbas and Olmert are scheduled to discuss several topics at the meeting, including relief for the Palestinians on daily issues and releasing funds.


Dr Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, said that this was a significant meeting: "This meeting is important because they will think of a political plan for implementing President Bush's two-states-for-two-people outlook and rendering it into feasible actions."


Erekat said that kidnapped soldier Shalit will not be central to the discussion, as the Egyptian security delegation was handling the matter and top ranking Palestinians didn't necessarily have all the required information on the issue.


Hamas denounces meeting

Hamas has already denounced the planned meeting. Hamas spokesman Dr Fawzi Barhoum said that such meetings did nothing for Palestinian interests, as they reduce everything to security issues only.


Barhoum called upon Mahmoud Abbas not to give in to outside pressure, especially from the American administration, which is aimed mainly at dividing the Palestinian people.


He said that the pressing Palestinian issues such as the prisoners, removal of the boycott, Jerusalem and the refugees, were never discussed at these meetings.


פרסום ראשון: 04.14.07, 19:13
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