Hours after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday, top defense officials and IDF officers slammed a recently-launched US initiative, under which Palestinian soldiers have deployed in Nablus and Jenin.
According to the officials, terrorist activity has increased in Ramallah since some 600 Palestinian soldiers were allowed to deploy in the West Bank city last month.
On Sunday morning, a 20-kilogram explosive device detonated next to an Israeli military force operating in the city without causing any casualties.
Sources in the IDF Central Command said that the large bomb was set off by an advanced detonation system.
“The PA forces in the city are not combating the terrorists,” one source said. “They are taking action to enforce law and order but they are doing nothing about terror which has grown in the past month since they deployed in Jenin.”
The 600 PA soldiers, who underwent training by US defense contractors in Jordan, deployed in Jenin in May Israel gave its consent for the deployment in March ahead of a meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Rice and
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad. Barak at the time approved the deployment as part of Israeli efforts to bolster Fayad and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Another defense official said that even those terror suspects that were arrested by the PA forces were usually released days or even hours later. “There is no effective judicial system in the city,” the official said.
A top officer in the Central Command also warned that weapons the US was providing to the PA forces were finding their way to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in Jenin as well as in Nablus, where 3,000 PA policemen and soldiers have deployed over the past year. In addition, terrorists have infiltrated the PA police and military ranks, he said.
The training of the force in Jenin and Nablus has been overseen by Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, the US Security Coordinator to Israel and the PA. Dayton has overseen the deployment in Nablus up close and was also involved in the recent deployment of PA forces in Jenin.