Palestinian police take over Tulkarim

Palestinian police have deployed in the town of Tulkarim after Israel completed its handover by opening a gate and allowing traffic to flow freely to the rest of the West Bank for the first time in more than three years.

    Israeli soldiers open the gate of the main entrence

    Israeli troops opened on Tuesday the imposing 10m-high Anabta metal gate, which lies on the main road east of Tulkarim.

    The giant barrier was the major Israeli control point in the district and had been closed for almost four years since shortly after the Palestinian uprising began in late 2000.

    Many citizens from the town took to the streets to celebrate the handover operation on Tuesday.

    Terms of the deal

    Under the terms of the deal, armed Palestinian security forces can deploy throughout the region apart from the three villages of Ramin, Alar and Saida where troops are permitted to patrol unarmed for two weeks until further arrangements.

    "The handover operation includes Tulkarim city, its refugee camps and six nearby villages, which will be completely handed over. Three other villages will be also handed over, but unarmed policemen will be deployed there for two weeks as a probation period," al-Umari said.

    "Tulkarim is the second smallest area in the West Bank after Jericho. This is probably why Israel has agreed to hand them over them to the Palestinian Authority," he added.

    Unfinished job

    Aljazeera reporter in Tulkarim Walid al-Umari Israel's opening of the gate should have followed the removal of the gate and the concrete blocks, but Israeli forces had claimed they had no available crane to do the job.

    Tulkarim governor Izz al-Din al-Sharif told Aljazeera that The Israeli army should translate its promises and agreements on the ground.

    "Anabta gate has to be carted away. Merely opening it is not sufficient. The agreement states the removal of this gate. They [Israelis] should respect their agreement," he said.

    Freedom of movement

    When asked about the changes to take place after the handover, al-Sharif said citizens of Tulkarem would now feel free to enter and leave the city without being asked to verify their identity.

    "Citizens can now go to other parts of the West Bank, such as Nablus and Hebron, through this gate,

    "Citizens can now go to other parts of the West Bank"

    Tulkarim governor Izz al-Din al-Sharif

    "The opening of the gate will also boost our business and facilitate movement to the rest of the West Bank," he added.

     Late on Monday, the Israeli army handed over control of the district to their Palestinian counterparts in what was the second security transfer in a week. Last Wednesday, Palestinian security forces took over limited control in Jericho.

    Israeli officials said they would transfer the West Bank city of Qalqilya, south of Tulkarim, to Palestinian security control next week.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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