Israel on Friday gave the Palestinian Authority approval to open 20 police stations in Area B of the West Bank. It is the first time Palestinian police will return to rural areas in the West Bank in seven years, since the outbreak of the 2001 Intifada. IDF official Peter Lerner said about 500 Palestinian police officers will deploy in the West Bank villages. Overall security control in these areas will remain in Israeli hands, but Palestinians will have presence to maintain public order and enforce the law. Some of the stations were closed in 2001 and will be reopened, while others will be constructed. The approval was part of the commitments made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak during a meeting last week with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayad in order to ease the lives of West Bank Palestinians. Next week, IDF commanders and PA officials will discuss the new deployment. Area B is under the security control of Israel but the civil control of the PA.