Israel to hand PA guns in bid to restore order

Israel will transfer to the Palestinian Authority lights arms as part of a series of goodwill gestures Prime Minster Ariel Sharon intends to present PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting next week, Vice Premier Shimon Peres told Israel Radio on Friday. The Palestinians „are apparently facing many problems,” Peres said. „The light arms are really needed in order to place law and order and to fight Hamas.” The Vice Premier did not agree that the PA’s weapons, which in the past were used against Israeli targets, threat Israel in a substantial way. „Light arms do not pose a threat to Israel. The threat on Israel comes on the one hand from a war with tanks and airplanes and on the other hand from terrorists,” Peres went on saying. „It is not the guns that threaten us, but the suicide bombers,” he said. On Thursday evening the coordinator of government activities in the territories, General Yosef Mishlav, and PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan met in Tel Aviv to discuss further measures aimed at alleviating the everyday lives of Palestinians. The measures include the easing of Palestinians’ entry into Israel through the separation fence and from the Gaza Strip. In addition, Israel will increase the operational hours of the Karni crossing into the Gaza Strip. The two sides are also set to reach an agreement about the renewal of „summer vacation” visits, in which Palestinians living in Arab states visit their families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel hands PA maps of settlements On Thursday evening, security sources said that Israel has recently handed the PA detailed maps of the civilian infrastructure of Gaza Strip and northern West Bank settlements slated for evacuation under the disengagement plan. The maps, which were handed over to the PA in preparation for next Tuesday’s planned meeting between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, cover roads, electricity and water networks as well as other infrastructure information. BPI-info