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Tuesday, October 7, 2008
PA official: Israel has agreed to allow over 1,000 PA troops into Hebron (peak Jewish tourism presence)

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

Question: How many minutes did the Israelis think before apparently
agreeing to the deployment of over 1,00 armed PA troops to Hebron the very
week that Jewish tourism to Hebron will be at one of its seasonal peaks
(Succoth)?

Answer: The question is based on a false assumption. That someone "thought"
altogether.]

'Israel has agreed to allow PA troops into Hebron'
Senior Palestinian defense official tells Ynet Israel has authorized request
by Palestinian Authority to deploy security forces in Hebron in effort to
block Hamas' growing influence over the city. Hamas, meanwhile, passed
legislation calling for elections to replace Abbas
Ali Waked YNET Published: 10.07.08, 01:31 / Israel News
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3606264,00.html

Israel is backing a bid by the Palestinian Authority to reassert control
over Hebron, a senior Palestinian defense official told Ynet on Monday
evening. According to the official Israel has authorized the request made by
the PA to deploy security forces in the West Bank city as part of the effort
to push back Hamas, which is poised to seize control there.

At present time Israel has yet to confirm such an agreement.

According to the source the deployment will be carried out as soon as next
week, around October 15th. The Palestinian force will be comprised of more
than 1,000 armed men. Israel has so far authorized the deployment of 250
members of the Presidential Guard and an identical number of police
officers. The PA is hoping to add another 500 troops from the national
force.

The unique force will be tasked with battling Hamas' extensive political
efforts, which have been picking up speed as the Palestinians head to the
ballots in early January to replace President Mahmoud Abbas, whose term is
ending. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's is concerned Hamas will
take advantage of the unrest pervading the streets during the elections.

The Palestinian request was communicated through discreet channels to senior
diplomatic figures in Jerusalem. The proposal was also discussed in Fayyad's
meetings with US Special Envoy for Middle East Security, General James
Jones.

Fayyad pointed to Hebron as the city most likely to fall into Hamas' grip.
The Islamic movement, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody
coup last year, poses a threat to the Palestinian Authority's rule in the
West Bank.

The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted Hamas leader and former
Palestinian foreign affairs minister, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, on Saturday as
warning the PA the Islamist group would fight back.

"It is clear that these security operations are intended to oppress Hamas,
but they will only bring about the opposite," he vowed.

Hamas: We'll replace Abbas

Meanwhile Hamas said it would cease to recognize Abbas as Palestinian
president when his term ends on Jan. 8th and replace him with one of its own
leaders, according to a resolution approved by the Islamic movement's
legislators Monday.

The Hamas resolution demands that Abbas issue a decree by Wednesday to hold
new presidential elections within three months. Abbas aides said the
resolution appeared aimed at stepping up pressure on the president, a
political moderate, ahead of a new attempt by Egypt to mediate a
power-sharing deal between the two rival camps and is certain to deepen the
split between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement.

"I believe Hamas is coming to this point just to undermine the national
dialogue before it starts in Cairo," said Abbas aide Nimer Hamad referring
to the Egyptian-brokered talks, expected to start next month.

If Abbas does not step aside in January, Hamas says it will install deputy
parliament speaker Ahmed Bahar of Hamas as Abbas' temporary successor until
elections are held.

The job would normally go to the parliament speaker, Abdel Aziz Dueik, but
he is in an Israeli jail, along with scores of other Hamas lawmakers from
the West Bank. Bahar said Monday he would accept the job, if asked.

The resolution left a loophole, suggesting that Abbas' term could be
extended by parliament if deemed to be in the "national interest."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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