PM considers allowing Jordanian forces to enter West Bank
Abbas expected to ask Olmert to approve entry of Palestinian Bader Division forces to preserve his control over West Bank; Palestinian leader will also request Israel’s permission to transfer dozens of armored vehicles from Egypt to Palestinian territories
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is considering allowing forces from the Palestinian Bader Division of the Jordanian army to enter the West Bank at President Mahmoud Abbas’ request.
The two leaders are expected to discuss the matter on Monday during their meeting in Jerusalem.
Prior to Hamas’ takeover of Gaza Abbas asked that Bader Division forces be allowed entry to the Strip, but his current request is aimed at preserving his control over the West Bank.
Israeli officials refused to say whether Olmert would grant the request at this stage. It should be noted that the security establishment had denied a similar request by Abbas in the past.
During Monday’s meeting the Palestinian leader is also set to ask that Israel approve the transfer of several dozen armored vehicles from Egypt, a move he claimed would help maintain public order in the Palestinian territories.
Abbas will also ask Israel to authorize the transfer of thousands of protective vests and additional military gear to his forces.
Olmert, for his part, is expected to bring to the meeting the list of 250 Fatah prisoners slated for release by Israel. The prime minister is also expected to official inform Abbas of the release of the frozen Palestinian tax funds and of Israel’s guarantee to transfer any funds collected on behalf of the Palestinians in the future.
It is not yet clear whether US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is scheduled to arrive in the Middle East on Monday, will take part in the meeting.