[Since 2007, the U.S. State Department] has invested $392 million in rehabilitating and training [Palestinian Authority] security forces … more than $160 million to fund certain units of the security forces, $89 million for vehicles and nonlethal equipment, $99 million for the renovation or construction of PA security forces' installations and $22 million in programs to increase the forces' capacity. The State Department has requested an additional $150 million for 2011.
The forces are trained mainly in
With big expectations, come big risks. There is perhaps a two-year shelf life on being told that you're creating a state, when you're not.
He was clearly implying that the Palestinians were being trained for the purpose of becoming the security force of an imminent Palestinian state. Now, in July 2010, with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas refusing — despite heavy Western pressure — even to enter talks with Israel, the "big risks" Dayton referred to seem to be looming.
Indeed, as revealed by Israeli media outlets this week,
Israeli security forces show great suspicion toward the Palestinian security apparatus in the
Ben-Menachem goes on to cite General Avi Mizrahi, head of
[The] IDF must also be prepared for an escalation in fighting against Palestinian security personnel trained in
This is a trained force, better equipped by an American mentor, and the upshot is that at the beginning of combat, the price we pay will be higher. Such a force can close down a built-up area with four snipers, it's deadly. It is no longer the gunmen of Jenin. It is an infantry force standing in front of us and we must take that into consideration.
Not surprisingly, another report on Monday — this one by Barak Ravid in
Ravid writes that the watchdog in question, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, claims the following:
What's happening here? If the
For one thing,
In 1996, in the incident in
Also, the fact that the U.S.-trained PA forces are fighting Hamas — to what extent and how effectively depends on which reports one reads — does not mean these forces are Israel's friends. The Fatah-run PA is in a deadly conflict with Hamas and doesn't want it to take over the West Bank as it has taken over
The Palestinian state that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says
And if, as seems very likely these days, that state is actually not going to arise soon, then General Dayton's words about "big risks" and a short "shelf life" could prove all too prophetic as the well-trained but aimless forces seek a target for their new capabilities.
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.