Palestinian policemen in Bethlehem on Tuesday prevented a group of armed youths from firing at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. The incident was reported to Ha'aretz by a resident of Beit Jala.

The man said that the youths, apparently members of Fatah, had assembled close to the Orthodox club, but had been surprised by several policemen in the vicinity who immediately told them to disperse.

The number of Palestinian policemen on the streets of Bethlehem and the surrounding villages has been growing daily over the past week since Israeli forces withdrew from the city. This is in keeping with Palestinian assessments that despite disappointment at Israel's decision to freeze the Gaza-and-Bethelehem-First plan, the Palestinian Authority and its interior minister were determined to stand by their commitments.

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian policemen are now manning positions destroyed by the IDF over the past two years, particularly on roads leading to Israeli settlements and army bases. Palestinian drivers complained yesterday that they now have to stop and undergo two checks.