CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel rejected a request by US Lt. General Keith Dayton to provide body armor, night-vision goggles, and electronic communication systems to Palestinian security forces.
Dayton, dispatched by President George W. Bush to coordinate security between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, requested the equipment on behalf of the PA.
Senior Israeli defense officials rejected the proposal outright, on grounds it would break the balance between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and PA security forces.
Meanwhile, at a press conference Tuesday, European Union envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair, spoke about plans to expand the Jenin "test project" should it prove successful.
The expanded control, which includes an area north and east of Tulkarem, along with Jenin, is equal in size to the Gaza Strip.
PA forces would patrol the area from 6:00 a.m. to midnight and be in joint control with the IDF overnight.
Under the Jenin project, the IDF will coordinate with local PA security forces, while maintaining freedom to operate in the area, especially against "ticking bombs," i.e., terrorists planning specific attacks.
According to Blair, Israel agreed to remove four more checkpoints, upgrade seven others and relocate a checkpoint in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
Source: The Jerusalem Post