The U.S. administration is planning to broaden the mandate of its special security envoy Lt. Gen. William Ward, to allow him to deal with Israeli complains and become more involved in monitoring the PA progress in reforming its security forces.

American sources said that U.S. President George Bush is planning to beef up Ward’s team and widen the scope of his responsibilities.

The American move apparently came following increasing Israeli complains around the claimed “Abbas’s failure” in the security arena, making reference to the current escalation following the killing of three Palestinian children in Gaza.  

Ward came under some criticism for failing to make progress on the ground.

“Ward is working too slowly, and warned that by the time he gets up to steam, he’ll find himself facing the Hamas and not the PA.’ said former U.S. peace negotiator Dennis Ross last week. 

Israel has so far expressed satisfaction with Ward’s operation. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz praised him during his latest visit to Washington. Israeli satisfaction was based on Ward’s lack of criticisms to either side.

If expanding his mandate is approved, Ward would meet more often with PA security officials, and maintain closer monitoring of progress on the ground.