Palestinian Authority police 311 (R).
(photo credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
Israel is turning a blind eye to the establishment of two Palestinian Authority
police stations on the border of Jerusalem as it considers a series of goodwill
gestures to President Mahmoud Abbas.
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One of the police stations was
established recently in the village of a-Ram, which lies northeast of the
Jerusalem neighborhood Neveh Ya’acov, just outside the capital’s municipal
borders. The second station was established in what is known as the Biddu
enclave – a group of eight Palestinian villages located near Ramallah and along
The stations were established in territory marked as Area B,
which according to the Oslo Accords is land under Israeli security control and
Palestinian civilian control.
In recent years, the IDF has allowed the PA
to establish police stations within villages in Area B, in line with government
policy, to bolster Abbas’s government and grant it the necessary tools to
enforce law and order in the Palestinian territories.The Jerusalem Post
has learned, however, that the two police stations in the Jerusalem-borderline
villages were established without Israeli government approval. Nevertheless, the
state is not demanding that the PA remove them, since it prefers not to insert
its own police and military forces in the villages.
“There is something
of a blind eye being turned to the establishment of the stations,” a senior
official familiar with the issue told the Post
. “Israel does not want to have to send its own forces inside, and the Palestinians are looking to extend
their reach and authority. In the meantime, everyone benefits.”
government has worked for years to curb PA attempts to gain a foothold inside
Jerusalem and its neighboring villages, due to the symbolic significance of
having official PA offices and armed policemen in close proximity to the Israeli
The station in a-Ram – a village of some 70,000 residents – is
located close to the security barrier erected to prevent terrorist infiltrations
into Jerusalem. A large portion of a- Ram’s population – some estimates claim 50
percent – are in possession of blue Israeli identity cards.
defense official told the Post
on Monday that while the Defense Ministry was
aware of the existence of the police stations, it did not plan on ordering their
closure and would likely approve them as part of a larger package of goodwill
gestures the nation is expected to make to Abbas.
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu has been under increasing pressure from the United States and the
European Union to make gestures to Abbas as part of an effort to renew direct
peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Netanyahu has resisted until
The country has quietly supported the bolstering of PA security
forces in recent years.
So far, eight battalions trained by the United
States in Jordan have deployed in the West Bank and another two are scheduled to
join by the end of the year. Each battalion numbers about 500 security officers
who were trained by the office of the US Security Coordinator to Israel and West
Bank Lt.-Gen. Michael Moeller.