Text size

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas asked Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at Monday's Sharm el-Sheikh summit to allow the Jordan-based Badr Brigade to enter the West Bank.

Abbas wants the group of Palestinian troops serving in the Jordanian army to help keep law and order. A senior Israeli official said Olmert will consider the request.

"We didn't say no, but we also didn't say yes," the source said. "In the past, the request came up regarding the brigade's entry into Gaza, and now Abbas is making another request, and we have to consider it."

The official said that about a year ago, the issue was brought up by the U.S. security coordinator in the region, General Keith Dayton. At the time, the U.S. recommended that that the forces are improperly trained and equipped for the mission. The official added that Dayton would again look into the matter and make another recommendation before Israel decides. The Badr Brigade comprises some 1,500 soldiers who are attached to the Jordanian army but receive their salaries from the Palestine Liberation Organization.

However, the Badr troops have yet to be paid for some 10 months, ever since initiation of an international economic boycott against the Palestinian Authority. An Arab source said that 400 troops have deserted due to the economic situation.