480 armed PA police deploy in Jenin

Policemen will maintain daytime order while the IDF will continue to operate in the town at night.

Palestinian police 248 88 (photo credit: )
Palestinian police 248 88
(photo credit: )
480 flag-waving Palestinian policemen deployed in the Jenin on Saturday - part of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's attempt to assert control over the West Bank town. Thousands flocked to the town's center to cheer on the forces, which will beef up the area's existing force of 1,500 officers. Jenin is the second town in which newly trained Palestinian troops were deployed in large numbers. Nablus became the test case for Abbas's forces several months ago and the city of Hebron is next. "I hope this will be a step in the direction of restoring full (Palestinian) security jurisdiction in these areas," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. "So far this has not been done, and if the Israelis continue coming ... to Nablus and Jenin, this would undermine our effort." "This makes me feel safer," said Mohammed Omari, a clothes' seller in Jenin, who watched the forces enter Jenin. "I was robbed a few times and my shop was fired it. That used to make me think of emigrating, but now I'm thinking about increasing my trade here." The move to allow the deployment of the policemen in Jenin was announced in March ahead of a meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad. Barak at the time approved the deployment of 600 PA policemen in the West Bank city as part of Israeli efforts to bolster Fayad and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The armed policemen in Jenin are charged with maintaining order in the town during the day, but the IDF will retain security control and will continue to operate in the town at night. The Jenin program follows a similar deployment of PA policemen in Nablus last year. Two weeks ago, OC Judea and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Noam Tivon and head of the IDF's Civil Administration Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai met with PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein a-Sheikh to discuss the PA deployment in Jenin. At the same time, the officials discussed the opening of 20 new PA police stations, to be manned by some 500 men. IDF regional commanders are supposed to meet with their PA counterparts to clarify during which hours of the day the policemen will be allowed to conduct their patrols and in what specific areas. Defense officials said that the new police stations would be opened in Area B, which is under Israeli security control. The IDF closed down all PA police stations in the West Bank in 2000. Since the renewal of relations with the PA several years ago, Israel gradually began allowing the reopening of those police stations located in major West Bank cities.