JERUSALEM – For the first time ever, Palestinian security forces deployed inside Israel yesterday and took control of parts of a small neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem in a clear sign of expected future Palestinian sovereignty over the area.

Yesterday, the primary Palestinian soccer team played its first game on home soil at a stadium in the neighborhood of Ram, just north of Jerusalem on the West Bank’s border. The city, entirely under Israeli control, is divided into two by Israel’s security barrier, with half of the town expected to be incorporated into a future Palestinian state.

Present at the event at Ram’s soccer stadium was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and other Palestinian and Jordanian officials, as well as the president of FIFA, the international governing body for soccer.

WND has learned the dignitaries were protected by a delegation of over 250 members of Force 17, Abbas’ presidential guard unit. The Palestinian forces blocked traffic, created a parameter and took over all security in Ram on both sides of the barrier Israel erected in the city.

Although Abbas’ Fatah party maintains a civilian security infrastructure in some eastern Jerusalem neighbors, the event marked the first time Palestinian security forces entirely occupied an area under Israeli control. When top Palestinian leaders visit Jerusalem, some bring along small security details, but those teams never take over security inside Israel.

Ram, as well as some northern and many eastern sections of Jerusalem, are widely expected to become part of a Palestinian state as a result of U.S.-backed talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state in most of the West Bank and sections of Jerusalem before the end of the year.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who had won her party’s primaries and had attempted to put together a governing coalition, announced she had failed to form a government and that she backed new general elections in February, which will bring about a new prime minister.

In the mean time, sitting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who had announced his intent to resign amid multiple corruption probes, will continue to serve as head of state, during which time he is expected to attempt to sign a sweeping agreement with Abbas to create a Palestinian state.


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