Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has revealed that after more than six months of negotiations, Israel has approved the delivery of armored jeeps and body armor to the Palestinian Authority.
The equipment was approved by Israel in July and would arrive in several deliveries over the next few weeks. They said PA security forces would use the 142 jeeps and 200 body armor sets for anti-crime and counter-insurgency operations in the West Bank.
“This will provide us with the protection that will allow our forces to impose order in the area,” an Israeli official said.
The PA request for the jeeps and body armor was submitted in early 2008 through the United States. Since then, U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton has pressed the Israeli military to permit the entry of the equipment from neighboring Jordan.
Israel had opposed PA procurement out of concern the armored jeeps would be used in attacks on the Jewish state and its military. Over the last few weeks, they said, Israel and the PA reached agreement on the terms of the use of the equipment and its area of operation.
The PA National Security Force (NSF) would acquire the equipment. The United States plans to expand the NSF to 40,000 troops, trained in anti-riot and counter-insurgency skills.
In the first stage of the U.S. plan, five NSF battalions would be established and trained. An NSF battalion was scheduled to begin a four-month training course in Jordan by September.
So far, two NSF battalions have been sent to a U.S.-financed facility outside Amman, Jordan.
The United States has also overseen the development of the presidential guards, including the establishment of a training center outside the West Bank town of Jericho.
There is one fly in the ointment. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the entity that oversees the Palestinian Authority, remains in a state of war with Israel, since the PLO never ratified the Oslo peace accords of 1993 that were signed by the late PLO leader Yassir Arafat, even though the Israeli Knesset Parliament ratified these accords at the time.
Therefore, any arms in the hands of a PLO can be used against the state of Israel, which is what happened in September 2000 after talks broke down between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.
The Israeli government spokespeople do not address the fact Israel now supplies weaponry to an entity in a state of war with Israel.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com.
©The Bulletin 2008