New PA police to be allowed to bear arms

IDF's announcement comes ahead of next week's scheduled opening of 20 new PA police stations.

PA policemen 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
PA policemen 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF will allow Palestinian policemen to conduct patrols in villages throughout the West Bank armed with automatic weapons, defense officials said Monday, ahead of next week's scheduled opening of 20 new PA police stations, to be manned by some 500 men. During meetings later this week with their Palestinian counterparts, IDF regional commanders will clarify the issues that remain open, including 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 decision to allow the PA to open the new stations was announced during a meeting last week between head of the Civil Administration Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai and PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein a-Sheikh. 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. "The policemen's job will be to enforce law and order - for example, to prevent the dismantling of the security fence to be sold as spare parts," a defense official said.