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6th Palestinian battalion to deploy in West Bank

October 20, 2010 03:42

Battalion finishes training in Jordan, will raise number of American trained Palestinian security personnel in territories to 3,000.

PA honor guard

PA honor guard. (photo credit:Majdi Mohammed/AP)

A Palestinian battalion finishing training in Jordan will deploy in the West Bank at the beginning of November, raising the number of American trained Palestinian security personnel in the territories to 3,000.

After the battalion – the sixth trained in Jordan under the direction of the office of the United States Security Coordinator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – deploys in the West Bank, a seventh battalion numbering about 500 security officers will head to Jordan for training.

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Last week, Lt.-Gen. Michael Moeller took up the post as the USSC in place of Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, who stepped down after five years in the position.

Moeller, a former B-52 bomber pilot in the US Air Force, will oversee the training of the PA forces in Jordan as well as the ongoing reforms throughout the PA security establishment.

Moeller has already held a series of meetings with top Israeli officials and is expected to meet in the coming weeks with OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot.

Moeller most recently served as head of strategic planning in the US Military’s Central Command (CENTCOM). He has clocked in over 4,400 flight hours as a pilot and served in active combat roles in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 as well as during the ongoing war in Iraq.

The security forces trained by the USSC have proven effective against Hamas, most recently following the August 31 shooting attack in the West Bank that killed four Israelis. PA forces arrested hundreds of Hamas members in the Hebron area after the shooting.

Their effective operations has led to an unprecedented increase in coordination with the IDF, which in return has scaled back its own operations in various Palestinian cities.

The battalions have so far deployed in Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, Nablus and Bethlehem.
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