PA receives armoured vehicles, weapons from US with Israel approval: media reports [Netanyahu denies]

Middle East Monitor  /  September 12, 2023

Informed Palestinian sources yesterday revealed that the Palestinian Authority received a number of armoured vehicles and weapons to support its security services; the Preventive Security Forces, National Security Services and the police.

The sources told the local Al-Quds newspaper that the armoured vehicles and weapons will be used to “enforce law and order” in areas under Palestinian security control.

The armoured vehicles were obtained by the PA from the Americans following mediation by Jordan and was approved by the right-wing Israeli government. This aims to strengthen the capabilities of the Palestinian security services to allow them to confront and stop resistance attacks against the occupation.

The sources said that the PA confirmed to various parties, through the Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, that the PA is unable to confront those cells that are spread in large numbers in Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm.

As a result, the sources added, the US provided the PA with modern automatic weapons equipped with lasers for use in raids and clashes with the armed cells.

In security meetings over the past few weeks, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on security forces to use an iron fist policy against all armed cells that, in his opinion, are working to destroy the national project, weakening the PA and portray it as powerless to the eyes of the Americans and Europeans.

Armed groups in Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm have recently accused the Palestinian security services of arresting their members and supporting the occupation by trying to quash the resistance.


Israel: Netanyahu denies approving US arms delivery to Palestinian Authority

Middle East Monitor  /  September 14, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday denied media reports claiming that his government had approved a shipment of weapons to the Palestinian security forces.

Israeli Army Radio had reported that the recent shipment of over 1,500 rifles and eight armoured vehicles from the United States to the PA security forces received approval from the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Sources within Israel’s Finance Ministry revealed that Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich was kept in the dark about the approval and is reportedly furious about the situation.

The report caused outrage within Netanyahu’s hard-line government, forcing him to refute the reports as “fake”.

“There is no limit to the fake news, so here are the facts: since this government was established, it has not transferred any weapons, not even one, to the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu said.

“What we did do was implement a decision made by [former] Defence Minister Benny Gantz in January 2022, to transfer a number of armoured vehicles to replace other armoured vehicles that had become obsolete,” he added.

“That’s what we’ll do. No armour, no tanks, no Kalashnikovs, no nothing,” he said.

Netanyahu reportedly met with Smotrich and ordered all decisions made by the previous government regarding the PA to be brought to the National Security Council, “with the aim of tightening supervision and making sure that the current government’s policy is implemented.”

For his part, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant denied Netanyahu’s claims,  adding that since he took office, no weapons have been approved for transfer to the PA, adding that “any attempt to portray things differently is wrong”.

According to the Israeli Army Radio, Israel approved the supply of weapons to the Palestinian security services in the occupied West Bank on condition the weapons be used against the resistance fighters and groups.


Israel: far-right ministers object to US sending armoured vehicles to PA

Middle East Monitor  /  September 14, 2023

Far-right Israeli ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday over reports about transferring “arms” to the Palestinian Authority, local media have reported. This was a reference to the US sending armoured vehicles, batons and tear gas canisters to the PA to use in its fight against the Palestinian resistance groups.

Smotrich and Ben-Gvir claimed that the transfer was made without their knowledge and accused Netanyahu of plotting to lay the foundations for an alternative government with National Unity party leader Benny Gantz. In the wake of their criticism, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Netanyahu himself denied that reports of an arms transfer were true. However, Netanyahu did concede that the armoured vehicles were delivered.

The finance minister “was unaware of such a move and was burning with anger,” said Smotrich’s office.

“Mr Prime Minister, if you do not state in your own voice that the reports about the transfer of arms to the terrorists [sic] of the Palestinian Authority are false, there will be consequences,” Smotrich is reported as saying. “If your intention is to try and build an Oslo II government, please inform your ministers and the public so that we can act accordingly.”