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PA: Israel has no role in protecting Abbas, Fayyad

Aug. 20, 2009 12:20 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 22, 2009 3:51 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel does not provide protection for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas or Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, spokesman for the Palestinian Security Services Adnan Ad-Dameri said Thursday.

His comment came following reports in the Israeli media detailing alleged coordination between the Palestinian Authority’s offices in Ramallah and Israel’s Israel's Shin Bet (security services) during the leaders’ trips in the West Bank.

“This news is not true,” Ad-Dameri said over the phone, “the Israeli media says so to misrepresent and to harm the status of the Palestinian Authority.” He assured Israel has “nothing to do with the security of the Palestinian President.”

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper alleged a standing “agreement between Israel and the PA,” under which a “team from the Shin Bet's VIP security unit” follow Fayyad and Abbas around the West Bank “whenever they are in Area C.”

Under the Oslo Accords the West Bank was divided into three areas. Area A, mostly Palestinian cities excluding Hebron, is under total Palestinian Authority control. Area B is under Palestinian civil and Israeli military control, usually around villages. Area C is under total Israeli control, always around Israeli settlements, including half of the Palestinian city of Hebron, and in all other areas of the West Bank.

The paper alleged that Israeli intelligence accompanied Fayyad on a Tuesday trip to Nablus-area villages, and that “Fayyad's convoy also included an Israel Police patrol car, representatives of Israel's Civil Administration and a jeep full of Shin Bet bodyguards.”

The report said the Israeli guards “were responsible for Fayyad's security in Area C, while his Palestinian bodyguards - members of the PA's Presidential Guard - took over in Area B.”

Israel military sources allegedly told Haaretz “the security procedures for guarding Abbas and Fayyad on their trips through the West Bank stem from Israel's desire to avoid having armed Palestinian guards open fire in Area C should their charges come under attack.”

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