Shin Bet Opposes Deal to Put PA in Charge of Security in Cities

Israeli troops inspect the scene of a shooting attack at an Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad TEMPLATE OUT
IDF troops inspect the scene of a shooting attack at an Israeli checkpoint near Ramallah, Jan. 31. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

The Shin Bet has expressed its objections to the plan that is brewing that would see the IDF cede control of Palestinian Authority cities and large portions of Area A to the PA. A report in Haaretz on Monday quoted senior security officials as saying that the Shin Bet had submitted an official opinion to the government listing its objections.

Army Radio on Sunday quoted government sources as saying that Israel and the PA were close to an agreement whereby the IDF would end its activities in PA cities, for the first time since 2001. Those favoring the agreement believe it will strengthen the forces loyal to Abbas in many PA cities, which have become dominated by Hamas. They point out the drop in terror attacks in recent weeks, stressing that much of the reason is due to the efforts by the PA, and that it would be in the Authority’s interest to continue ensuring quiet.

Last week, Yoav Mordechai, the IDF coordinator of security activities in Yehudah and Shomron said that such an agreement would not be a security issue. “Where the Palestinians are more active, we are less active,” he said on a tour of field conditions in the region. However, officials told Army Radio, the Palestinians see the agreement as a major step forward, which could create a major diplomatic headache if things do not work out.

In its official statement to the government, the Shin Bet said that surrendering control of the cities would significantly damage the IDF’s ability to prevent terror attacks. The IDF said in its official statement that it did not believe that this would be the case.

In a statement, the Shin Bet would not confirm or deny the report. “The Shin Bet does not comment on sensitive issues that are presented to the political echelon via the media.” The Prime Minister’s Office also did not confirm or deny the story. “The IDF has and will continue to ensure the security of Israelis,” it said. “This policy has not changed and will not change.”

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