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U.S. moving ahead with plans to train Palestinian security forces PDF Print E-mail
Feb 05, 2007 at 12:00 AM

McClatchy Newspapers          February 5, 2007 
By Dion Nissenbaum and Warren P. Strobel
 
Ramallah, West Bank - The United States is planning to spend millions of dollars to train Palestinian security forces as part of a renewed effort to strengthen Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  American, Palestinian and Israeli officials said Monday that they're fine-tuning a proposal that would send thousands of Palestinian forces loyal to Abbas to neighboring Jordan and Egypt for advanced training.    

The initiative is intended to provide Abbas with critical support in his political and military confrontation with the well-armed Hamas hard-liners who've controlled the Palestinian Authority since elections early last year.

The militant Islamist Hamas and Abbas' Fatah faction have fought in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.

But there's disagreement over whether to provide Abbas' forces with arms. Critics have charged that military aid could end up fueling, not containing, the street fighting, which has claimed more than 100 Palestinian lives in the last two months.

A senior Bush administration official said late last week that the $86 million in security assistance for the Palestinians that the White House is requesting from Congress would be confined to non-lethal items, such as training.

But Brig. Gen. Majed Faraj, the head of military intelligence for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, said, "If they want to train the forces but not equip them, then there's no point in training them." ... 

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