Officials of the European confirmed on Monday that the Union plans to declare the launch of a three-year mission to help the Palestinian Authority build a credible police force.
“This decision does not having European Police officers patrolling the streets of the Palestinian cities”, an EU source said.
The EU plans to provide 33 law-enforcement experts to advise the Palestinian Authority of how to staff, manage and finance the P.A police forces.
Currently, seven experts from the EU, including police officers and specialists in criminal identification are advising P.A police officers in the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Additional 26 experts are expected in the Palestinian territories on January, 1, 2005.
17 P.A officers will join the EU experts bringing the total number of the mission personnel to 20. The mission will based at the beginning in Gaza and Ramallah, followed by Nablus, and then spreading in other Palestinian areas.
This mission marks the first EU security role as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The EU has provided the P.A with economic aid, totaling some $600 million a year.
EU minister are expected to debate the European role in monitoring the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Palestinians and Israelis asked for the EU role there, but they did not arrive to a finale agreement regarding operating the crossing after differences emerged regarding the live feed cameras Israel insists to install and other “security” related issues.
Israel insists to be able to monitor Rafah traffic via closed-circuit television providing the Israeli side with live feed, something the Palestinians reject. A P.A source reported on Tuesday that the P.A will only agree if the cameras provide Israel with a delayed feed.
Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Erekat said that he hopes an agreement will be reached by November 15, Israeli online daily Haaretz reports.
However, Israel and the Palestinians disagree over how much authority the EU monitors at the crossing should have; the Palestinians want them to be observers and advisers, while Israel wants them to have final responsibility.