Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian police chiefs concluded a three-day summit in the West Bank city of Jericho on Wednesday (August 21), hailing progress in cooperation and pledging to conduct more joint crime-busting activities.
The police heads of Israel, Palestinian territories and Jordan held three meetings in the past 18 months, joined by U.S. police chiefs from different states, to upgrade policing strategies in the region.
"As you all know, crime these days has no limits, has no borders, and of course for all police forces in the whole world, their job is to counter this violence, to counter crime. We are gathered here for this reason and for this reason only -- how we are going to be able to improve the ways that we are using to counter crime, in different ways and different levels," Palestinian police chief Hazem Attallah said.
Attallah's Israeli counterpart, Inspector General Yahanan Danino, was positive about the progress of joint activities between Israeli and Palestinian police.
"We have a lot of progress. We feel it not only in the working groups, not only on the issues that we mentioned. We feel it in our relations on a daily base when you need something, we have a lot of examples, that we used these relations for the good of our people in all the area," Danino said.
Palestinian police have jurisdiction only in areas under full Palestinian Authority control, comprising around 22 percent of the West Bank.
The rest of the West Bank is supposed to be jointly policed, and over half of the West Bank, area C, remains under full Israeli control.
Cooperation between the forces could make policing in all areas more effective and lower crime and accident rates, which are at highest in those zones shared by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
"We're going to now create something new, we are going to start with mutual patrols, with Palestinian police and Israeli police that will work on this area that nobody actually works there. That's one of the solutions that we found in this conference," Danino said.
Israeli and Palestinian police have held other meetings in recent years, including one in 2011 facilitated by the European Union, where the two forces trained together on evidence gathering and drug trafficking.
Attallah said the level of cooperation in this latest round of meetings was very visible.
"It was the first time when there is a Palestinian chief of police standing in the Israeli police academy and give a lecture. I think this is part of the success and number two, am inviting commissioner Danino to come and give a lecture to our officers. This is the kid of progress that we are talking about," Attallah said.
The joint police summit concluded a day after talks resumed between Israel and Palestinian negotiators.
The third round of U.S.-brokered talks followed last week's session that was widely believed to have focused on setting an agenda for discussing core issues such as borders, security and the future of settlements, and Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.