Israel’s cabinet has approved a plan to increase the number of police deployed in Palestinian areas of Israel and Jerusalem, local media reported on Sunday.
Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the plan entails the recruitment of 2,600 new police officers and construction of 10 new police stations in cities with predominantly Arab or mixed populations.
The presence of security forces, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, is a sensitive issue in Israel.
Before his weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the measures — to be implemented over several years — were aimed at reducing crime in Arab areas.
“We want equality in law enforcement. This equality does not exist in Jerusalem and the Arab public is paying dearly. The State of Israel is paying dearly,” he said.
“We want a single nation of law without enclaves in which the law is not upheld,” he added.
While Netanyahu portrayed the scheme as one intended to bolster law enforcement, Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan as saying the plan included the deployment of more police in East Jerusalem for the twin purposes of “enforcement and deterrence”.
In January, after a shooting attack in Tel Aviv killed two Israelis, Netanyahu said he would not accept “[Arab] enclaves without law enforcement; with Islamist propaganda; with plenty of weapons often fired during wedding celebrations; with constant crime.”