Official: PA security forces need arms to keep peace
Published Saturday 09/06/2012 (updated) 10/06/2012 14:45
PA security forces pictured in Hebron. MaanImages/file
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority security forces require regular armaments and supplies in order to keep peace and order in the West Bank, a Fatah official said Friday.
Jamal Muheisin told Ma'an that weapons used by security forces naturally wear out after a period of time and, like police forces in other countries, need to be replaced.
A large portion of arms used by Palestinian security forces were destroyed in the second Intifada during Israeli incursions into the West Bank, Muheisin said.
President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said he would open dialogue with Israel if it re-armed Palestinian security forces.
"We recently told them that if Israel accepted to free prisoners and allow us to re-arm the police then we would again sit at the same table as Netanyahu," Abbas said during a visit to Paris.
Israel regularly coordinates with PA security forces and has a say on the degree to which they are armed and deployed.
The Palestinian Authority is prevented from developing conventional military forces by Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said in the past that any future Palestinian state must be demilitarized.
Israel's 2011 defense expenditure was about 6 percent of its GDP. The United States contributes $3 billion every year to Israel's security budget.
Reuters contributed to this report