Palestinian police 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF is investigating an incident during which Palestinian security officers entered territory under Israeli control and held a firefight with a Hamas fugitive they were pursuing.
Under Israel’s agreements with the Palestinian Authority, security forces are allowed to operate in Area A – which is under complete Palestinian control – and in rare cases and after receiving special approval in Area B. Under no circumstances, are the PA forces supposed to operate in Area C which is under complete Israeli civilian and military control.
The Monday night incident began in Jericho when PA forces attempted to arrest a Hamas operative in the city. The Hamas man fled from the forces and ended up near the Israeli settlement of Pezael in the Jordan Valley. Settlers later called the IDF after they heard gunfire nearby.
The IDF said that the PA operation in Jericho had been coordinated with the military but that the Civil Administration was investigating the incident to prevent similar operations in Area C in the future.
This is not the first time that PA security forces have ventured into areas under Israeli security control without permission.
Last August, for example, a Palestinian security officer was spotted near a junction north of the settlement of Efrat just off Route 60, the main highway connecting Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.
The policeman, who is based in Bethlehem, told IDF officers that he ventured out to the road, which was recently opened to Palestinian traffic, to inspect a car accident. He was detained by IDF troops from the Etzion Brigade, his weapon was confiscated and he was released only several hours later.
In 2009, the IDF allowed the Palestinians to establish a number of small police stations in towns in Area B, which is under Israeli security control but is administered by the Palestinian Authority.
The IDF’s concern is primarily due to the potential misunderstandings that can be caused by having armed Palestinians walking around in areas that are off limits.
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