by: Middle East Newsline: www.menewsline.com
The Palestinian Authority has been pressing to deploy armed personnel in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank as a step toward an independent state.
Fayad has been lobbying the European Union and United States for an expansion of PA security operations throughout the West Bank. The prime minister said such an expansion beyond PA-controlled areas, known as Area A, marked an international commitment to recognize an independent Palestinian state.
“It is very important to have a formal uniformed security presence outside Area A which would project PA readiness for statehood,” Fayad said.
In a briefing to visiting European reporters on March 6, Fayad stressed the need for the Quartet as well as the rest of the international community to support an expanded Palestinian security presence. He cited European Union plans to establish 30 police stations in Area A and Area B, the latter in which Israel retains formal security responsibility.
The PA has built a security force of nearly 30,000, including civilian police, National Security Forces, Presidential Guard and a range of security and intelligence agencies. The police have been trained and equipped by the EU while the NSF and PG were under U.S. responsibility.
Israel has quietly allowed PA police patrols in what is known as Area C, the parts of the West Bank under the full control of the Jewish state. But they said the arrangement must be formalized. In his briefing, Fayad said Israel was responding violently to Palestinian protests in the West Bank. The prime minister also reported Israel Army operations in Area A.