Israeli and Palestinian security heads met in the West Bank to coordinate policy.
“During the meeting, which was held at the Palestinian Authority offices in Ramallah, the parties discussed the activity of the Palestinian Security Forces in the area of Jenin and northern Samaria,” according to an Israeli army statement issued after Tuesday’s meeting. A major P.A. force was deployed in Jenin in recent weeks, the first such deployment since before the second intifada started in 2000.
The Bush administration had pressed Israel to facilitate the deployment of the force, saying that the relatively moderate P.A. government needs active troops to shore up credibility and to confront Hamas, the terrorist group that now controls the Gaza Strip and has designs on the West Bank.
Israel is wary of allowing the P.A. force to build up arms because of past defections from such forces to terrorist groups.
The army announcement said the meeting was “positive,” with the Palestinians expressing satisfaction with the recent easing of strictures in the West Bank. Future meetings are planned.