IDF may let PA security forces police Tulkarm

Barak orders security barrier construction sped up to enable elimination of more roadblocks.

PA police 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
PA police 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
A day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with US President Barack Obama at the White House, the IDF got to work and began reviewing an American request to allow more Palestinian soldiers to travel to Jordan for training, as well as expansion of the "Jenin model" to other parts of the West Bank. Defense officials said Israel was considering a request by Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, the US security coordinator to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to allow three battalions of Palestinian soldiers - close to 1,000 men - to go to Jordan for training. In the past, battalions trained there have been deployed in Jenin, Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron. Defense officials also said Israel was considering expanding the Jenin model to the Tulkarm and Kalkilya areas. Under the Jenin model, the IDF has scaled back operations in that city, removed checkpoints in the area, permitted the deployment of US-trained Palestinian forces and allowed Israeli Arabs into the city to boost the local economy. In addition, Israel and the PA are working on the construction of an industrial zone. The Palestinians have asked that the model be implemented in Ramallah, the officials said, adding that the request was under review. By the time the new battalions have completed their training, a decision would be made on the location, the officials said. These proposals came up on Tuesday during meetings Defense Minister Ehud Barak held at Central Command headquarters in the capital. Barak also toured parts of the security barrier near Jerusalem, and defense officials later said the IDF had been instructed to speed up its construction. "The quicker the barrier goes up, the quicker we will be able to remove more checkpoints," one official said. OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni has instructed the Judea and Samaria Division to come up with a list of checkpoints that can be removed in the near future. Asked about illegal outposts, Barak said a country that respected itself could not allow the construction or existence of outposts on Palestinian-owned land. "This is not an issue between us and the Americans or the Palestinians," he said. "The problem is between ourselves - we will have to deal with this issue."