Israel's defense minister says Israel could soon hand over control of several towns in the West Bank to the Palestinians.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told Israel Radio today (Sunday) he discussed the issue with Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan late Saturday.
Mr. Mofaz said such a transfer of authority could begin within the next few days, depending on the outcome of further talks with the new Palestinian leadership.
The towns expected to be included in the transfer are Ramallah, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya, Jericho and Bethlehem.
The hand over of security control to the Palestinians is part of growing momentum that many officials on both sides hope will lead to a ceasefire and resumption of peace talks. Palestinian forces recently completed their deployment in the Gaza Strip where few violent incidents have been reported for several days.