• Share
  • Read Later
: Palestinian children gave roses and olive branches to departing Israeli soldiers as Palestinians took control of five villages housing about 100,000 people near the West Bank city of Hebron. Hebron and Ramallah are the last West Bank cities still controlled by Israeli military security. Israeli forces will leave Ramallah on Thursday, while Hebron is scheduled to be turned over to the Palestinians in March. TIME's Jamil Hamad reports from the West Bank: "The changing of the guard continues to go smoothly. The children giving the roses and olive branches to the soldiers was an attempt by the Palestinian Authority to cool down the Palestinians in Hebron. It seemed to work. Only the mayor of Hebron was critical of the redeployment. He is frustrated that the pace of withdrawal from Hebron itself is going too slowly. When the troops finally leave Hebron in March, then things could get difficult. They are not going to be able to arrest Palestinians who attack Israeli targets. And the Palestinian police will be reluctant to arrest Palestinians because they will be accused of carrying out the jobs of the Israeli police. This could create a dangerous climate for the Israelis who continue to live among the Palestinians in Hebron."