Thursday, August 30, 2007
U.S. coordinator plans 5 new Palestinian battalions in W. Bank
"A new plan by the U.S. security coordinator in the territories, General Keith Dayton, calls for the deployment of five new Palestinian battalions throughout the West Bank.
The plan, whose aim is to bolster Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, requires the approval of Israel if arms and equipment are to be transferred for the new force, political sources in Jerusalem said Wednesday......
Last week, the U.S. Congress authorized for the first time the transfer of $80 million to the security delegation headed by Dayton, which will be used to bolster the security forces of Abbas. No funding has ever before been transferred to Dayton, and the money will now allow him to carry out his plans.......
In the prime minister's view, the main goal of the international summit scheduled to take place in Washington in November is to include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the diplomatic process, in an effort to broaden the Arab world's support for Abbas.
"I do not need to travel to Washington in order to meet Abu Mazen," Olmert told the visiting Congressmen. "We meet here. The focus of the effort in the international summit will be to include elements that to date have not been part of the process."......"