JERUSALEM (AP) – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying Monday he would consider allowing the Palestinian president to beef up his loyalist forces with troops stationed in neighboring Jordan.
Palestinian officials said last week that President Mahmoud Abbas wants to bring in the forces ahead of a possible showdown with the rival Hamas militant group.
Israel has objected in the past to letting members of the Jordan-based Badr Brigade enter Palestinian areas. But on Monday, Olmert told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he would consider allowing such a move, said committee member Ran Cohen.
“If the addition of a military force will not hurt our security, then this will be considered favorably,” Olmert was quoted as saying. He did not mention the Badr force by name.
Clashes have been intensifying in recent weeks between Abbas’ Fatah Party and forces loyal to Hamas as political tensions grow. The violence, concentrated in the Gaza Strip, has left more than a dozen dead and raised fears of a larger conflict.
Israel has boycotted the Hamas-led government since it took office in March, but supports the more moderate Abbas, who was elected separately.