Jordan to train PLO forces
Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Monday, February 7, 2005
AMMAN – Jordan has agreed to train forces from the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Officials said PLO units would be trained for eventual absorption into Palestinian Authority security forces. They said Jordan would utilize its special forces to begin training of the PLO units over the next several weeks. They said the United States would help finance the effort.
The training would focus on the PLO's Badr force, which numbers around 1,000 in Jordan. The force was based in Jordan in the 1970s and 1980s and many of its members moved to the West Bank and Gaza Strip when the PA was established in 1994.
[On Friday, Israeli authorities reported that a Palestinian suicide bombing was foiled on an Israeli civilian target in Jerusalem. Authorities did not elaborate, but the military reported that a 15-year-old Palestinian was arrested the previous day outside the northern West Bank city of Nablus with a bag that contained an explosive belt.]
The PLO's charge d'affaires in Amman, Atallah Khairi, said Jordan would begin training Palestinian forces and judicial officials. Khairi said King Abdullah ordered all of the required training for PLO forces to prepare them for deployment in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Israeli officials said the Badr forces would represent Jordan's effort to monitor security in the West Bank. They said Badr forces could be deployed in the northern West Bank in wake of an Israeli withdrawal in September 2005.
"It depends on the Palestinians," Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said.
Jordan has denied that it plans to send military forces to the West Bank. Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Al Mulki told the Arab media on Friday that such a move would depend on the PA.
"They are not Jordanians," Al Mulki said. "They are Palestinians, and they have been trained by Jordanian special forces."