Israel agrees on arms transfer to Abbas' presidential guard
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies 25 May 2006
[IMRA: Channel 2 TV Military correspondent Ronnie Daniel noted in his report
this evening that the PA's security forces are already well armed]
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz accepted
recommendations from defense officials to allow for the transfer a limited
amount of weapons and ammunition to the Palestinian Authority's presidential
guard in light of growing threats to Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' life.
Olmert and Peretz reached the decision prior to the prime minister's
departure for the United States earlier this week, Channel 2 reported
Senior defense sources said Thursday that the arms will be delivered to the
guard by way of a third-party state (all indications are either Egypt or
Jordan) solely for the purposes of protecting Abbas.
The move is seen as a response to the continued strengthening of Islamic
organizations, which have managed to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
"In the Gaza Strip, an industry of weapons and ammunition smuggling
continues to expand, most of which is reaching the Islamic organizations,"
said a defense source who took part in consultations with Peretz. "We need
to enable Abu Mazen (Abbas' nickname) to deal with [the groups]."
A similar proposal to transfer arms to Abbas has been on the agenda for
months, however it was not given the green light by Peretz's predecessor,
Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that the Islamic Jihad has formulated a plan
to assassinate the PA chairman.