Israel facilitating patrols by Palestinian police in lawless areas

Special to

RAMALLAH — Israel has allowed a significant expansion of police operations by the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian sources said the Israel Army has been ordered to facilitate PA police operations around Jerusalem and areas in the West Bank controlled
by the Jewish state.

Palestinian Authority police (right) coordinate with Israeli border police (left) to control Palestinian access to Jerusalem, at the Bethlehem checkpoint on the last Friday of Ramadan, 17 August.  /RRB/ActiveStills
Palestinian Authority police, right, coordinate with Israeli border police to control Palestinian access to Jerusalem at the Bethlehem checkpoint. /RRB/ActiveStills

The sources said Israel agreed to PA anti-crime
operations in Palestinian towns that for years had been lawless.

“This campaign is part of an attempt to eliminate crime,” PA police spokesman Brig. Gen. Adnan Dumeiri said.

Dumeiri said the target of the PA campaign was organized crime in suburbs of Jerusalem nominally controlled by Israel. He said PA forces arrested 25 criminal suspects, many of them deemed fugitives.

“Israel is not interfering,” Dumeiri said.

The sources said Israel has been under U.S. pressure to significantly expand PA police operations around the West Bank. In mid-2013, they said, PA police began patrolling roads near Jewish communities in coordination with the Israel Army.

The PA has long asserted that criminals were using Palestinian villages
in the Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank as a safe haven. The
sources said these villages as well Arab neighborhoods
around Jerusalem have been abandoned by Israeli law enforcement.

In the current campaign, PA police have been operating in A-Ram, located
outside of Jerusalem and not under formal Palestinian control. The sources
said PA police and intelligence units sought to seize drug traffickers.

“The operation is continuing and suspects are being arrested and
brought to the public prosecutor,” a PA police statement said.

The sources said the PA police were also planning to deploy along the
edge of the Jerusalem municipality. They cited the northern
Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Shuafat.

“The Israeli decision to allow the PA operations was made at the highest
level,” a source said.

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