JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) – Israel gave the Palestinian Authority permission on Tuesday to open three police stations in the northern West Bank as part of a U.S.-backed security campaign meant to ready the Palestinians for statehood.
Washington sees the campaign as a chance for Palestinian forces to show they can exert control and rein in militants.
A Palestinian police official, Major Mohammed Tayem, said 105 policemen would be stationed in the new stations in three villages near the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank.
The policemen will be armed with assault rifles and handguns, the official said.
“We can confirm that the three police stations will be handed over to the Palestinian police on Sunday,” an Israeli army spokesman said.
Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian civil police, said the new stations would be used “to maintain rule of law and pursue law breakers”.
Israel had authorized the opening of some 20 Palestinian police stations across the occupied West Bank.
Hundreds of members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s forces were deployed last month in Jenin, long seen as a militant bastion.
Israel has said it will maintain overall security responsibility despite the Palestinian deployment.