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West Bank Palestinian Police force boosted

United Press International (UPI)


A U.S. general training Palestinian police in the West Bank said more officers are needed to prevent Hamas from gaining strength.

Lt.Gen. Keith Dayton plans to increase the number of Palestinian police battalions operating in West Bank cities from three to 10, media reports said Monday.

Israel, satisfied with the way the Palestinian police force operates in Palestinian villages and cities, has already approved sending additional recruits to undergo training in Jordan.

A senior Israeli military commander told the Maariv daily newspaper, the expansion of the Palestinian police force will occur over a number of years, and will not constitute a threat to Israeli troops operating in the area. Recruits undergo a four month training course at Jordan's International Police Training Center, which is staffed by U.S. and Jordanian personnel.

The report said Israel has recently approved the establishment of 26 additional Palestinian police stations in the West Bank, but has rejected demands to supply the police force with additional weapons. Israel says the current Palestinian police force operating in the West Bank, have ample supplies of guns, Kalashnikov rifles, helmets and bullet proof vests.