Jericho and Kalkilya won't go to PA

Israel denies it will give away security control of the West Bank cities.

barrier kalkilya 88.298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
barrier kalkilya 88.298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel has no intention at this time of transferring security responsibility for Palestinian cities in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, government officials said Thursday. They made their remarks in response to a report in the London-based Arabic paper Al Quds, which quoted Palestinian sources as saying Israel would soon stop its counterterrorism activities in Jericho and Kalkilya and place security responsibility for those two cities in the PA's hands. Government sources said this was a step the Palestinians would like Israel to take, and which PA officials have raised in various discussions, but that it was premature. "They first have to have an effective security service in place," one official said. The officials speculated that Palestinian leaks to the press about an imminent handover of the cities seemed designed to pressure Israel to do so. While transferring security control of cities in the West Bank to the PA could ultimately take place, it is currently not even on the table, one official said. Meanwhile, senior officers in Central Command said they were opposed to transferring security control over Jericho to the PA. They said the PA security forces were not currently capable of cracking down on terrorist elements inside the cities. "Until they prove their capabilities, we shouldn't transfer security over the city," one officer said. In recent meetings with PA security chiefs in the West Bank, he said, the IDF was told that the PA security forces were not even capable of entering a home to collect illegal weapons. "The Palestinians first need to prove their sincerity," the officer said. "Until then, there is no reason to grant them control of security over a city in the West Bank."