Finally Israel has accepted to allow supplies of light armsthe Palestinian Authority  to help its security forces restore law and order in the Palestinian territories.

Israeli officials, including Vice Premier Shimon Peres, are describing Israel’s acceptance, which would be announced during next week meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as another positive gesture.

“The Palestinians are apparently facing many problems. The light arms are really needed in order to place law and order and to fight Hamas.’ Peres told Israel radio.

Peres denied that light arms could posses a threat to Israel’s security, saying: ‘Light arms do not pose a threat to Israel. The threat on Israel comes on the one hand from a war with tanks and airplanes and on the other hand from terrorists,’

It apparently took a strong American intervention to convince Sharon that “Abbas can’t fight terror with a slingshot”. Israel announced its decision to allow the transfer of light arms to the Palestinian Authority a day before the expected arrival of U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the region in a disengagement “maintenance” mission.

Systematically Israel dismissed demands to provide Palestinian security forces with arms and equipment needed to restore law and order and fulfill the PA’ signed obligations. During his last month’s visit to the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin angrily responded to Israel’s dismissal of his request to provide PA security with armored carries, saying “what do they expect, for Abbas to fight terror with a slingshot”