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Israel gives Palestinian security force more authority

RIA Novosti

13:2826/06/2009 GAZA, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Israel on Friday expanded the authority of Palestinian security forces in four large cities in the West Bank, including the administrative center of Ramallah, Israeli and Palestinian authorities said.

Regional media reported that the move reflected the growing effectiveness of the Palestinian Authority structures, including security forces trained by western instructors. Israeli authorities are also attempting to curb international criticism for the stagnation of the process to achieve a political settlement in the region.

"Palestinian security forces may increase the number of hours operating in Ramallah, Qalqilyah, Bethlehem and Jericho in order to better fight crime and keep civil order in these cities," an Israeli Army announcement reads.

Israeli Defense Forces said its troops would no longer enter these cities unless there were "urgent security needs." Palestinian forces are now able to operate 24 hours a day, which was almost impossible before. Israel said the decision did not mean it was pulling out of the West Bank entirely, stressing it retained the right to re-enter the area if needed.

Regional media reports have also said that over the last few weeks the Israeli military has removed dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank.


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