PA Security Forces 311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Under orders from the Defense Ministry, the IDF has drawn up contingency plans
for the transfer of security control over certain West Bank areas to the
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Such a move would require the approval of the
government and the IDF Central Command, defense officials said.
President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Israel transfer security over major
West Bank cities and completely halt IDF incursions into them, which have anyhow
dramatically dropped in numbers in recent years due to the lull in
Such withdrawals were also one of the demands that US
President Barack Obama made to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during their
meeting at the White House in July.
One area under consideration is the
Ramallah region, which would include Beitunya, el-Bireh and possibly even Bir
Zeit, parts of which falls under Area B, which according to the Oslo Accords, is
meant to be under Israeli security control until a final agreement.
IDF rarely operates in Ramallah nowadays and senior officers said that PA
security forces were doing an effective job to prevent terrorism.
Zeit is problematic, on the other hand, due to concerns that a transfer of
security responsibility to the PA could reinforce the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine’s budding infrastructure in the university
“Hamas used to be very strong in Ramallah but already for several
years it is not in the city,” a senior defense official said. “Hamas mostly
operates today, if at all, in the village areas, not in the cities.”
all IDF officers support a security transfer.
Some say that even though
the PA security forces are currently doing an effective job in cracking down on
terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank, the IDF’s operational freedom still
plays a key role.
“Even though the IDF does not go into the cities every
day, its presence helps keep terrorism down to a minimum,” another official
The decision will be up to the government and will likely depend on
the progress made in the peace talks with the Palestinians, currently deadlocked
due to the PA’s refusal to negotiate unless Israel renews the freeze on