Israel has reportedly authorised 1,000 rifles to be shipped to security forces in the West Bank loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.
The weapons were transported from Jordan according to the report in the Haaretz newspaper on Thursday
It is the largest ever arms transfer of its kind.
The report said the move was aimed at supporting Abbas’s authority in the West Bank and help to prevent Hamas from mounting any successful challenge to power there as it has done in the Gaza Strip.
The weapons were delivered to security forces, whose Gaza colleagues were routed by Hamas forces last month, under strict confidence to prevent any possible leak that could undermine Abbas’s standing, the paper said.
This year, several thousand rifles were delivered from Egypt and Jordan to Fatah forces in Gaza and the West Bank, but most have fallen into the hands of Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since mid-June, Haaretz said.
Meanwhile, Abbas has said that George Bush, the US president, wants an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before he ends his term of office.
Abbas was quoted as saying in an interview with the Maariv newspaper "The Americans are determined to push the parties into reaching an arrangement during President Bush’s current term."
"I heard this in person from the president himself and from Secretary of State [Condoleezza] Rice. They want to reach an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming year," he said.
Bush will leave office in January 2009.
(Agencies, July 26, 2007)