Russia has delivered 50 armored personnel carriers to Jordan for use by Palestinian Authority security forces. A Russian government statement said the vehicles are now waiting “until the Palestinian and the Israeli sides agree on the time and ways of their transfer to the western bank of the Jordan River.”
The vehicles are a gift to the PA, and come with training for drivers and mechanics.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority several weeks ago, announcing at the time that 50 Russian troop carriers would soon be delivered to the PA. He said then that Moscow had offered the APCs a few years ago, "but Israel refused to hand them over." Israeli sources said the delivery of the APCs would be discussed in face-to-face negotiations between Israel and the PA.
The armored carriers in question can easily be turned into combat vehicles. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in his famous Bar Ilan University speech last year expressing support for a Palestinian state, made it very clear that the PA state to which Israel would agree could only be a demilitarized one.
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) wrote at the time that there is no such thing. “Of course, I don't mean nano-states such as Andorra or the Vatican,” Eldad wrote, “which have themselves chosen not to maintain an army. There is no real state in the world defined as a demilitarized state.”
Eldad noted that nearly 100 years ago, after World War I, the Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany must remain demilitarized – but “what happened? Did the ‘demilitarized’ status prevent the Second World War and, worst of all, the destruction of European Jewry?” German and Russia signed an agreement that secretly helped Germany become quite militarized, and the lesson that was learned, Eldad wrote, is simple:
“There is no political power that can prevent a sovereign state from doing whatever it wants… Netanyahu knows that if ever a Palestinian state should, Heaven forbid, be established, Israel will not be able to declare war on it if it should choose, for instance, to sign… a transfer-of-technology agreement with Iran. If pipes are manufactured in [a PA city], Israel will not be able to start a war that can be justified in the eyes of the world if steel cutters turn the pipes into Kassam rockets…”