BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian security forces on Friday entered several Israeli-occupied neighborhoods and towns in the Jerusalem area for the first time since the Palestinian Authority was established, a PA security official said.
PA security spokesman Adnan Dmeiri told Ma'an that Palestinian police entered the occupied areas of al-Ram, Beit Hanina, Shufat, Anata, and al-Sawahira Friday and began a crackdown on criminal activity.
Twenty-five suspects have been detained so far, Dmeiri said.
Dmeiri told Ma'an that PA police forces intervened given Israel's neglect of its security responsibilities in the areas.
Israel "doesn't pay attention" to the security situation in these neighborhoods, Dmeiri said. They have become a refuge for fugitives and drug dealers.
"As a result, crime spread, endangering civil peace."
Given the rising frequency of armed robbery and property assaults, the PA asked its allies to mediate and convince Israel to allow Palestinian security forces to operate in these Jerusalem areas, Dmeiri said.
Dmeiri said offenses in some neighborhoods around Jerusalem have nearly reached the level of "organized crime," but that Israeli security has failed to address the problems.
"When we entered al-Ram, there were no Israeli (security) forces in the town."Coordination with Israel
Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian officials held major talks last year about a possible coordination of security forces to fight crime, the spokesman said.
However, "the current crackdown is not related to last year's talks."
The security spokesman noted that Palestinian police activity in the areas are temporary, and by no means constitute full PA security control of East Jerusalem.
However, he was hopeful for an expansion of PA security activity in Israeli-controlled areas.
"We hope we can operate in other towns," he said.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem in 1980.