The Palestinian Authority has received armored vehicles from the European Union with the approval of Israel, according to media reports on Tuesday.
The reason for the decision to allow the shipment of ten vehicles, which had been vetoed by Israel several times previously, was as yet unclear. Ynet, which reported the transfer, suggested that approval at this time was intended to placate the Palestinians at a time of great economic and political stress, and in order to maintain close security coordination.
Initially, the armored vehicles were to be brought in under the Olso Accords, ostensibly for the purpose of enabling then-PA chairman Yasir Arafat to protect his government from dissident elements.
However, the equipment was viewed with suspicion by Israeli authorities, because of their potential use against communities in Yehudah and Shomron.
For example, in 2000, a paper published by the Ariel Center for Policy Research stated: “Because the IDF limits yishuv self-defense to small arms, the growing armor vehicle capability of the PA would render the assault troops it carries invulnerable to yishuv defenders. The IDF gate guards do not have anything to stop these vehicles. The standard sliding gates for all yishuvim would buckle under the impact of such armored vehicles, and many yishuvim lack even this ‘obstacle’ – such that the only thing separating between the attacker and the yishuv is a moving aluminum arm painted red and white.”
The report went on to say that “the PA armored vehicle force is not capable of challenging the IDF, but would be unstoppable in a first strike on yishuvim. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that that is their purpose.”
In response to Tuesday’s report, regional Jewish leaders registered their opposition. Yesha Council Chairman Hananel Dorani said that only yesterday, it was reported that a senior PA employee, along with a lawyer who worked with him, was arrested for shooting attacks “and today they bring armored vehicles to their friends, “says Dorani.
“As long as the PA continues to pay salaries to terrorists [and] to incite to terrorism, there is no reason to continue this glorification and to support it economically and militarily. I call to stop the move and return the armored vehicles back to the European Union. ”
Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, denounced it as a “total abandonment of human life and taking an unacceptable risk both of the lives of IDF soldiers and of the lives of the residents of Yehudah and Shomron.”
“Any reasonable person understands that the supply of armored vehicles with machine guns for terrorists in uniform is a decision that could cost a lot of blood,” Dagan said. “Many terror attacks in Yehudah and Shomron, in which Jewish soldiers and civilians were murdered, were carried out by or with the help of Fatah soldiers or policemen of the Palestinian Authority, Ido Zoldan, Rabbi Meir Hai, Ben Yosef Livnat, Eviatar Borovsky, and many others were murdered by Palestinian policemen or by the Palestinian GSS,” he said.
The shipment came into the Shomron via Jordan.
Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 3:15 pm added comments