PA Wants Own Security Forces in Hebron

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Palestinian Authority (PA ) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad wants Israel to turn over jurisdiction of Hebron to PA security forces.

According to YNet news, Fayyad discussed the plan with Israeli officials in the presence of General James Jones, the Bush administration's special envoy for Middle East security.

Fayyad maintains that the move would strengthen the Palestinian Authority's popularity on the street, thereby reducing the threat of a takeover by Hamas-affiliated Palestinians in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

The PA prime minister would like to shore up control in Hebron before January 9, when President Mahmoud Abbas's term in office ends.

Fayyad believes Hebron could fall to Hamas, much as the Gaza Strip did following the bloody military coup in June 2007.

As in the PA-controlled city of Jenin, the IDF would curtail its presence in Hebron, barring a full-blown crisis.

Jewish residents of Hebron, who have little reason to trust Palestinian forces to protect them against terror threats, will likely protest the plan.

Meanwhile, Abbas met Tuesday with outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in his Jerusalem residence.

Abbas is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly next week.

Israeli President Shimon Peres will represent the Jewish state.

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