Israel is allowing the Palestinian Authority to extend its control of
the West Bank. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem.
600 Palestinian police deployed in the volatile West Bank town of
Hebron. Commanders say the aim it to crack down on militants and
Israel approved the deployment to strengthen
Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, both of whom want
to curb the influence of the Islamic militant group Hamas.
seized control of the Gaza Strip last year, routing Mr. Abbas's Fatah
forces in a Palestinian civil war. Since then, Mr. Abbas has headed a
more moderate government in the West Bank that is negotiating with
Israel for the creation of a Palestinian state.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned the deployment of Palestinian police in Hebron.
accused Mr. Abbas of collaborating with Israel to crackdown on Hamas
and the Palestinian resistance, while strengthening the Israeli
Hebron is the West Bank's largest city and the third to be reinforced with Palestinian police loyal to President Abbas.
still controls the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is sacred to both Jews
and Muslims, and the nearby Hebron Jewish settlement. The 500 settlers
who live there are furious over the deployment. They say that in the
past, Palestinian police have turned their weapons on the Jews.