Israel Agrees to U.S. Request for Flak Jackets for PA

Israel acceded to the long-standing United States request to allow Arab soldiers in the Palestinian Authority to wear flak jackets.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

Flak vest in use by NYPD
Flak vest in use by NYPD
photo: Vid cap from NY 1 TV station

Israel has acceded to a long-standing United States request to allow Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces to wear flak jackets, but has rejected a model that would include stronger body armor that can repel fire from M-16
Last November, Israel confiscated body armor that had been given to PA forces by Britain.
rifles. The IDF has feared that advanced flak jackets will fall into the hands of terrorists, who previously have obtained thousands of rifles Israel gave to the PA and then used them to attack Israelis.

"They're getting the same flak jackets that police get in the United States," an official told Reuters News Agency. "The protection they are receiving from these vests is adequate to the task." They are strong enough to defend against Kalashnikovs, the Soviet-designed rifles commonly used in the PA.
 
Last November, Israel confiscated body armor that had been given to PA forces by Britain.
 
Providing the flak jackets is part of a large-expenditure American program to train PA forces. The training program's first results were disastrous, with PA troops being overrun in the militia war between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza last summer. More money was allocated and American taxpayers' money was used to build a new training base in Jericho.

Hundreds of policemen have graduated from the course and have been deployed in Jenin and Shechem, considered the centers of terrorism in Israel.

Israel has objected to providing the forces with other equipment, including armored personnel carriers, because of past experience with PA weapons obtained by terrorists in non-governmental militias. In addition, PA forces themselves occasionally have used their rifles to attack Israelis.