Israel National News
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that the freeing of terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons was a “priority” for his leadership.
“The Palestinian leadership gives priority to the prisoners issue and ending their suffering,” Abbas said in a speech to a meeting of his Fatah party in Ramallah, according to AFP. …
The speech came after thousands of PA Arabs rioted over the death the death of an elderly terrorist who was serving time in an Israeli jail. … Read more at israelnationalnews.com ...
Shared courtesy of the Middle East ForumThe Times of Israel by Alexander H. Joffe
Why exactly is President Obama going to Israel? A variety of theories have been advanced as to why he is making the trip now and what might be accomplished.
Some have suggested that Obama needs to reassure Israel, to hold their hands and tell them that the US-Israeli relationship is special. This suggests that Obama cares about Israeli feelings, at least in the sense that positive sentiments advance policy goals, and that Israelis might be thus comforted by his presence. But the record of bad relations between Obama and Netanyahu is too long, and the fact that Obama is on record saying that Israelis don't know what is best for them, whereas he does, has mitigated whatever good vibrations he might spread now.
Others have suggested that Obama is going to take advantage of the unique circumstances of weakness in the Arab world in order to force progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations. But the Palestinian Authority is again engaged in fruitless reconciliation talks with Hamas and has accused Israel of sabotaging those talks with back channel contacts with Hamas. It has also orchestrated violent protests against Israel in advance of Obama's trip to create a price tag for its cooperation. The idea that Obama holds a strong hand falls short.
Still others believe the visit is a kind of reset, an opportunity to rebuild relations badly damaged by the misstep of forcing Israel to adopt a construction freeze that was neither asked for nor reciprocated by Palestinians, as a condition for resuming negotiations. Given the appointment of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, despite revelations regarding his peculiarly obsessive hostility towards Israel and near indifference towards other issues, this rings particularly hollow.
On the whole, the timing of the visit is so inauspicious as to arouse suspicion that a change of American policy is indeed in the making. Consider the Middle East scene today. The Egyptian military is making veiled threats against the American-supported Muslim Brotherhood Morsi government. The civil war in Syria is spreading into Lebanon. The threat of an Islamist takeover in Jordan has never been greater. And Iran, with the help of North Korea, inches ever closer to a nuclear weapon.
Nothing suggests the administration changing its policies on these realities. The US Government continues to support Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in supplying the increasingly Islamist dominated rebels in Syria, and now will provide non-lethal aid directly. No meaningful pressure has been exerted on Egypt to change course, to push economic reforms or lessen growing repression against Christians and liberals. Jordan is, as ever, almost completely off the American radar. And while the sanctions policy against Iran has hurt the middle and lower classes, it has only increased the regime's belligerence. The idea that Obama is coming to Israel to inform it of significant policy changes is the most far-fetched interpretation of all.
So why now? The simplest explanation may be the best; that in his second term Obama has less to lose and will at least gain a badly needed American PR boost by finally going, and that, in the absence of overt embarrassments, the trip will be deemed a success.
Based on the administration's habit of doubling down on bad calls, chances are that the news Obama is bringing is a commitment to more of the same. A trip half way around the world for those reasons will [be as] undramatic as it is unproductive, and for that reason we should expect the trip to be couched in terms of "unprecedented security cooperation" between Israel and the US, and "being on the same page about Iran." Photo-ops and talking past one another will be the norm. The stage has been set by the announcement that the US will keep funding joint development of anti-missile programs regardless of sequestration budget cutbacks. But the question of what might be accomplished remains.
But at another level the visit is dangerous. For one thing it will inevitably expose just how out of sync the US is with Israel as well as the region. The bad chemistry between Obama and Netanyahu will produce awkward body language when they meet. American spokesmen will visibly dance around unwanted questions regarding Hamas and Hezbollah, or Muslim antisemitism. The famously aggressive Israeli press will analyze Obama's every move and every word, as will the Palestinian press. And despite carefully stage-managed meetings with selected groups, groups of Israelis and Palestinians are likely to loudly protest, causing embarrassment all around.
But the real impact of the Obama visit to Israel will not be in Israel but rather in Arab and Muslim countries. After all, it is in those countries that Obama has arguably (and if popularity polls are to be believed, unsuccessfully) invested the most political capital, and it is there that his trip to Israel will create the most disappointment and resentment. The 'Arab Street' will want to see overt confrontation between Israel and the US and will be disappointed when it doesn't appear. More nuanced observers in those societies will assume other forms of American pressure on Israel, because they desire it, and then will be disappointed when evidence does not quickly appear. And virtually all local observers, especially in government ministries and official media, will obsess over the visit as a welcome respite from the situations in Syria and Egypt. The near tragic element of Obama's visit and its timing then is that it plays directly into the region's traditional use of Israel as a weapon of mass distraction.
Obama's visit, by virtue of being routine and ill-timed has the potential to feed the region's worst instincts. Disappointment with Obama will quickly turn to the default setting of blaming Israel. Is that Obama's true goal, a back handed form of incitement? Probably not. Nothing in the Obama' administration's international dealings suggests this level of sophistication; its manufacture of resentment is generally reserved only for the Republican Party. But that will be one of its effects and it will, in all probability, set back the cause of peace, and that of addressing the region's other issues. Alex Joffe is a historian and archaeologist. He is a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow of the Middle East Forum.
Lee Smith, senior editor with the Weekly Standard, Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and author of the 2010 critically-acclaimed book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations, briefed the Middle East Forum via conference call on February 6, 2013.
Mr. Smith characterized the Obama administration's Middle East policy as one of "extrication" from the region. The major problem with this policy, he argued, is that "vacuums are filled by other people, and not always filled by friendly powers."
Nor has the administration explained why it no longer deems the Middle East a region of vital interest. If, for example, the U.S. becomes a net exporter of energy in the near future and is less reliant on Middle Eastern oil, the administration has yet to make this case with the public. Instead, its policy of "leading from behind," adopted during the Libyan intervention, is a prime example of the vacuum left since the toppling of Qaddafi as the decision to leave the newly elected Libyan government to fend for itself has led to instability.
The tragic consequence of this instability was most notably seen in the attack on the Benghazi consulate and the killing of four Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stevens, but Libya has also become an "exporter" of small arms. Had the IDF entered Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense, it would have run into a NATO-quality arsenal that had been in Qaddafi's care. These same weapons have also ended up in Syria in the hands of seasoned jihadist fighters. According to Smith, the U.S. should have empowered other groups at the jihadists' expense so that different assets were fighting on its behalf.
Reverberations of the Libyan vacuum have also been felt across the Levant and North Africa:
- The notion of "leading from behind" is now playing out in the administration's avoidance of entanglements in Syria, though bringing down the Assad regime would serve U.S. interests. While the Sunni majority opposition is unlikely to rule democratically or become an important ally and friend, Washington should be sequencing threats in order to undermine its foremost threat in the region - Iran - which has identified itself as a sworn enemy and has effectively been waging war against the U.S. over the past 30 years.
- In North Africa, the Libyan vacuum can be seen, inter alia, in the Mali turbulence, where Tuareg nationalists who were among Qaddafi's fighters are pitted against Malian forces. The conflict has drawn in al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) which played an active role in the 9/11 attack on the Benghazi consulate.
How will Washington's extrication from the region affect Israel and other allies? The realist approach subscribes to the concept of "offshore balancing" whereby the U.S. doesn't need to land troops abroad but can instead rely on local allies to advance its interests. Israel is the only ally in the eastern Mediterranean capable of filling the role of "an unsinkable battleship" and Washington has to draw the obvious strategic conclusions.
Summary account by Marilyn Stern, Associate Fellow with the Middle East Forum
By Joseph Klein
On the eve of a Senate vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, a 2009 report co-authored by Hagel
has surfaced titled “A Last Chance For A Two-State Israel-Palestine Agreement.” It called for Israel to make “the hard compromises and painful concessions for peace” without asking anything comparable from the Palestinian side. Indeed, the report warned against “the Jewish-American and Christian Zionist groups that feel comfortable amplifying the positions of Israeli politicians hostile to hard compromise and painful concession.”
One of Hagel’s principal co-signatories on the report was Zbigniew Brzezinski, who had advised Obama on foreign policy during his first presidential campaign. Brzezinski has been openly hostile to Israel, accusing it of “brutal repression” and colonialism among other things – i.e., the Palestinian party line.
Hagel was obviously not interested in teaming up with an objective analyst, as reflected in the report. Its tone was set when it questioned the historic “intimacy of the American-Israeli relationship,” which it said is presenting “policy and security challenges for the U.S. in the Middle East and beyond.”Read this story at frontpagemag.com ...
National Post Erol Araf
On the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, a.k.a. “The Iranian Jackal,” much new information about the hunt for the terrorist most wanted by Mossad and the FBI has emerged. It’s a story of high-tech surveillance and old-fashioned espionage, and it’s just starting to be truly told now.
Imad Mughniyah was 20 years old when he made his debut on the international terrorist scene in 1983, with a series of spectacular and deadly bombings aimed at Western forces in Lebanon. The 1983 Beirut suicide bombings included those on April 18 at the U.S. Embassy (63 killed); on Oct. 23 at the U.S. Marine barracks (241 killed); and on Oct. 23 at the French paratrooper barracks (58 killed). A litany of bombings, hijackings, kidnappings and assassinations followed, with an ever-increasing body count. A list of the attacks he is believed to have been involved in, directly or in a leadership capacity, reads like an index of late-20th-century terrorism: Car bombings of the Israeli embassy and the Jewish cultural center in Argentina (124 killed) in the early 1990s; the World Trade Center bombing of 1993 (6 killed); the Khobar Towers suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996 (19 killed); the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 (223 killed); the 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen (17 killed).
And perhaps even the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. The 9/11 Commission Report references “a senior Hezbollah operative” shepherding the future hijackers in and out of Iran. Some terrorism experts believe this was almost certainly Mughniyah. Indeed, according to Peter Lance’s book Triple Cross, Osama bin Laden spoke admiringly of Mughniyah’s lethal handiwork and in 1993 met with him in Khartoum, Sudan, to form a working alliance.Read this story at fullcomment.nationalpost.com ...
The United Nations says Israel must withdraw all of its citizens from the regions of Judea and Samaria.
The recommendation came in a report issued Thursday by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has a history of passing numerous biased resolutions condemning Israel for various alleged "crimes" each year.
"Israel must, in compliance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions," the report said in part. "It must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the occupied Palestinian territories."
Israel"s Foreign Ministry responded in a fiery statement immediately to the report, which claimed that Jewish settlement activity only "hampers peace efforts."
In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, "The Human Rights Council has sadly distinguished itself by its systemically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel.
"This latest report is yet another reminder of that," he added.
At least half a million Israelis live in Judea, Samaria and areas of Jerusalem restored to the capital during the 1967 Six Day War. More on this topic
Israel has made good on its warning to Syria that they not transport certain types of military hardware to Hez b'Allah
* units located in Lebanon. (This is the correct
English transliteration -- the one that the Left-tilting News Media refuses to use, lest people understand the truth behind Islamist terrorism.)
Fifteen jet fighters struck the convoy, thus preventing the Russian-made missiles and other weapons from reaching their intended destination.
For full details, click onto this report
from Homeland Security Newswire
(Breaking news, as of: 0500 Central, Thu, 31 Jan 2013)
In a few months it will be the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the “Oslo Accord
” on the White House lawn. In that signing, Yassir Arafat, on behalf of the so-called “Palestinian Liberation Organization,” committed himself and his “people” to conduct negotiations with Israel that would lead to a peaceful resolution of the Middle East Arab-Israeli conflict. He forswore unilateral actions and decisions.
Since then, the “Palestinian Authority,” which was set up by the PLO, has violated every single clause in that and the subsequent Oslo Accords. Twenty years hence, the “Palestinians” as represented by the “Authority” have yet to comply with a single one of their obligations. Arafat and his gangsters simply used the Accord as a cover to gain control over part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They then converted all the territory they controlled into bases for launching terrorist aggression against Israel. The Palestinian terrorist groups have murdered at least 1700 Israeli civilians since signing that first “peace accord.” Thousands of Palestinian rockets have been launched into Israel aimed at Israeli civilians, and not just by the Hamas. “Palestinian leaders” repeat several times each day before breakfast that their aim is the obliteration of Israel altogether and that they will never recognize the legitimacy of Israel within any set of borders.
The media controlled by the “Authority” and the terrorist organizations have been thoroughly nazified; they broadcast anti-Semitic filth that exceeds what the German Nazis broadcast in the 1930s. The Gaza Strip has been completely nazified. Very little distinguishes the Islamofascism of the Hamas from the Islamofascism of the PLO, and the “president” of the Palestinian Authority is a certified Holocaust Denier.
And now to top it all off, the “Palestinian Authority” has unilaterally declared itself to be a sovereign state
and applied for United Nations membership
as such. This is just the latest
and not even the worst violation of “Palestinian” obligations under the Oslo Accords.
There is growing debate about how Israel should respond
to the behavior of the “Palestinians.” Indeed, there have already been calls
in Israel to implement part of the proposals
that follow here. This unilateral “declaration” of Palestinian statehood
and bid for international recognition
is not just a wholesale repudiation of the Oslo Accords
by the “Palestinians.” It is also as much a declaration of war as
was the secession of South Carolina. Any similar “secession” would be casus belli
in any other country on the planet and would be suppressed with arms. And any country endorsing or supporting such secession would be treated as an enemy belligerent.
Israel must make it crystal clear: the experimental Israeli willingness to consider acquiescing in the creation of a separate Palestinian state is over. The “Palestinians” never had a legitimate claim to statehood in the first place, although in exchange for peace Israel was in the past willing to overlook this. The “Palestinians” forfeited any shaky claim they might have had to statehood because of their behavior during the past two decades, indeed during the past century, their nonstop barbarism and mass atrocities. This is much like the East Prussians and Sudeten Germans forfeiting all THEIR
rights to self-determination and even to autonomy after World War II.
Israel must declare: The game of pretense and fiction is over. Israel is no longer willing to pretend that there exists some sort of “Palestinian people” entitled to statehood. The “Palestinians” are Arabs, and Arabs already have 22 states. They will not get yet another inside Israeli lands. Any Palestinian wishing to enjoy national sovereignty is free to move to one of those 22 Arab states, but no Arab sovereignty will exist in Israeli territory, meaning the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The “Palestinian declaration of statehood” must be dealt with by means of a unilateral Israeli settlement imposed on the West Bank and de-nazification of the local population.
The principles upon which such a unilateral Israeli concordance and resolution must be founded are these:
1. The West Bank belongs to Israel and is Israeli in all ways. No non-Israeli sovereignty of any form will be permitted in the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The West Bank is part of the Jewish national homeland, always was, and always will be.
2. “Palestinian” Arabs living in the West Bank will not receive Israeli citizenship and will not vote in Israeli national elections.
3. The land and resources in the West Bank will remain under Israeli supervision, control, and regulation.
4. “Palestinians” who do not wish to live under Israeli sovereignty will be free to leave. Israel may consider providing financial support, property compensation, or incentives for those so wishing to leave.
5. Most “Palestinians” choosing to remain in the West Bank will live in reservations, in some ways resembling Native-American-Indian territories that function inside the United States (possibly even including casinos), although in some ways they will differ. Reservations will be operated in those parts of the West Bank that have large concentrations of Arab population, meaning Jericho, Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin, Tul Karem, and a few other areas. Reservations will NOT have territorial contiguity. In each reservation, the “Palestinians” will be permitted autonomy and limited self-rule to manage their own local affairs as long as violence is completely absent from the reservation. Where violence is present, they will be denied autonomy. Reservations from which terrorism arises may be shut down and their populations dispersed. Arabs engaging in or supporting terrorism in any way will be deported.
6. “Palestinians” in the West Bank will be considered to be resident aliens within the Jewish state. Many still have Jordanian passports and citizenship and will be considered resident Jordanians. “Palestinians” who do not have Jordanian citizenship will be stateless unless they obtain citizenship from some other country.
7. Jews will have the right to live anywhere they wish in the West Bank outside the reservations assigned to the “Palestinian” Arabs. The territory in the West Bank in which Arabs do not live or live sparsely, and this includes the Jordan Valley and the sparse areas in between the reservations, will be opened to unlimited Jewish settlement.
The villages and towns with the Arab reservations will be assigned to two lists, a white list and a black list. Those in the white list will manage their own affairs without interference from the Israeli central authorities. Residents of white-list towns may hold commuter jobs in Israeli cities and industrial parks. The local authorities in the white areas will manage their schools and other local institutions. They will collect their own taxes and may benefit from revenue sharing arrangements with the Israeli fiscal authorities, like other Israeli towns. They might be allowed to operate their own local police forces. Residents in white-listed areas will be fully and freely mobile, able to move freely within and among all white-list areas. They will be allowed to develop local industry and tourist services. Their residents will have access to Israel universities, health facilities, and other services.
Those towns and villages in the black list will enjoy none of the above. Their residents will be denied the opportunity to hold day jobs in Israeli cities and industrial parks. They will have no access to Israeli services. They will have control over nothing. Their residents will be prevented from moving freely outside their reservation, except in cases where they wish to leave the country altogether. They will receive no shared revenues, no fiscal incentives.
Villages and towns will be assigned to the two lists based entirely on one single factor: violence. Areas in which violence occurs, and this includes rock throwing, will be assigned to the black list. Areas in which violence is absent will be assigned to the white list. Towns and villages will be reassigned to the black list from the white list when terrorism, sniping, mortars, rockets, or other forms of violence occur there. Towns and villages in the black list will be assigned to the white list only when the local population cooperates fully with Israel in apprehending and arresting the terrorists and those engaged in violence, and takes other effective actions to end the violence. Otherwise they will remain on the black list indefinitely. Entry into black list areas will be denied to foreigners, journalists, and especially to the “International Solidarity” anarchists and their ilk. Any such anarchist infiltrating the areas of the black list will be denied permission to leave them and will remain there indefinitely, or else will be imprisoned by Israel.
This of course leaves the dilemma of the Gaza Strip. As noted, because of the Israeli folly of withdrawing from and abandoning its control over the Gaza Strip, the area is now nothing more than a large rocket-launching terrorist base. I happen to believe that, in the long run, Israel will have no choice but to re-impose its complete control over the Gaza Strip.
But for the immediate future, an Israeli unilateral set of moves will be necessary here as well. Basically these must consist of a three-pronged assault against Gaza the very first time that a rocket is launched into Israel from that territory. In this assault, Israel will seize a strip of land several kilometers wide that will divide the Gaza Strip from Egypt and this will end the massive smuggling of weapons, explosives, drugs and other materials into Gaza. The other two prongs will split Gaza into three smaller segments. Israel will control movement of people and materials among these segments. It will arrest and shoot terrorists on the spot. And eventually it may impose the system of reservations and the white-black lists upon Gaza as well.
This is how Israel should respond to the declaration of war by the “Palestinians”
in their unilateral declaration
US-trained Palestinian Security Force under General Dayton November 2009 David Blumenfield
Prepared with a research grant from the Middle East Forum EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
After nearly 20 years, the Palestinian Authority, the PA, has achieved the dubious reputation of being one of the largest recipients of foreign aid per capita in modern times. However, the PA has not achieved stability, democracy, transparency, or accountability. One the most corrupt regimes in the Middle East, the PA remains a fiefdom, at this point in time under the control of chairman Mahmoud Abbas, his sons, and his cronies.
The security forces established by the PA, unsurprisingly, share a similarly dubious reputation. Despite decades of money, training and equipment from western democracies, the PA armed forces-more than 30,000 PA security and intelligence personnel-have in the main behaved little better than militias and are marked by considerable corruption. Rather than improving over the years, however, the forces have becoming increasingly problematic:
- Throughout the course of 2012, a pattern was established in which senior commanders were increasingly allied with organized crime and renegade militias.
In many areas, PA security presence has dwindled as personnel and commanders- trained for the most part by the US-have been recruited by organized crime groups engaged in extortion, as well as in the smuggling of weapons and narcotics. In Jenin alone, this has been the case with scores of PA officers, as evidence mounts of similar phenomena in other cities under PA control, including Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, and Tulkarm.
- This situation was exacerbated in the latter part of 2012 by a fiscal crisis.
As monthly salaries were withheld or only partially issued, many PA security personnel, with the consent of their commanders, clocked in and then went off to other jobs, often in the employ of private security agencies or for local criminals impressed by their Western training and equipment.
· The presence of armed Hamas personnel has become a major factor in PA controlled areas in several different respects:
Having benefited from major donations from such nations as Iran and Qatar, Hamas has been in a position to exploit the financial crisis of the PA. Numerous PA security personnel have been quietly engaged to working for the Islamist group, particularly the military wing Izzadin al-Kassam.
Hamas penetration into PA security has been strong in several areas under ostensible PA control, particularly in the Hebron region where senior PA intelligence officers are believed to provide intelligence to Hamas.
The PA security services now allow Hamas to organize huge rallies in areas under PA control. This arrangement, a departure from earlier policy, enables Hamas to openly recruit members as well as to mobilize supporters, as efforts are made to restore the Islamist military infrastructure in areas under PA control. Most of these rallies have ended up as confrontations with the Israel Army.
Senior members of the ruling Fatah movement have touted Hamas' war with Israel and called on the PA to prepare for another uprising in areas under PA control. Fatah, in statements reported in official PA-run media, has already announced the establishment of units assigned to fight the Israeli Army.
As a function of Abbas’ unilateral push for a state, PA security cooperation with Israel sharply declined in November and December 2012. Palestinian officers facilitated and even aided Hamas-aligned attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers. In some cases, PA personnel have attacked Israeli soldiers in broad daylight. PA security forces have also tried to stop the Israeli Army from capturing suspected Palestinian insurgents.
The Israeli army has privately acknowledged that Palestinians involved in attacks on Israelis have been allowed to join PA security forces and receive U.S. training.
· Abbas uses the PA security forces for his own purposes.
Abbas has used PA security forces: to retaliate against critics who accuse him of corruption; to destroy or exile his rivals in Fatah; to pursue Palestinians who have sold land to Jews; and to stop Jews from reaching religious sites in the Nablus region.
· None of the above issues has diluted solid Western support for Palestinian Security Forces.
Under [Alleged] President Barack Obama-who seeks to expand PA paramilitary units-the United States has pledged to continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars a year into Abbas' coffers, with large sums dedicated to the security forces. This is despite objections from Congress and appeals by Palestinian human rights organizations. Obama has exercised waivers to continue to fund the PA security forces.
American-trained PA Preventative Security Force 2013. Indynews
Oslo Accords division of West Bank: Area A - full PA control Area B - PA civil control, Israeli security Area C - full Israeli control ProCon
Legacy of the PA Security Forces
Numerous conflicting agencies, controlled by Arafat
The Palestinian Authority was founded in 1994 by Yasser Arafat, who appointed his top cronies as heads of various agencies of the Palestinian Security Forces. Arafat imported personnel from the Palestine Liberation Army from such countries as Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. The Palestinian security forces served as patronage for Arafat loyalists and within a year at least 17 agencies were formed, with authority overlapping and generating rivalries. 
The PA intelligence agencies, initially be limited to six, were quickly adopted by foreign sponsors, including the UK, Egypt, France and the United States. There was, however, little oversight of the forces, which engaged in extortion of Palestinians and received commissions on major deals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Clashes with Israel and decimation
Without oversight, PA units became involved in attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers. In September 1996, PA security forces clashed with the Israel Army throughout the areas under PA control in the wake of Israel’s opening of a tunnel contiguous to the Temple Mount. Four years later, Arafat recruited security forces to organize ambushes and other attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers in what was called the “second intifada”. The Israeli military responded with Operation Defensive Shield. By the end of 2002, the PA security forces were decimated, with facilities demolished and weapons seized.
US involvement: Security Coordinator
The United States recruited NATO and other partners to restore PA security forces. Yet despite pledges of hundreds of millions of dollars, the Palestinian security forces remained fiefdoms and ineffective. Amid White House assurances to the US Congress, PA security forces were overwhelmed by Hamas fighters, who took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The PA defeat led to an overhaul of Palestinian security forces in the West Bank directed by the office of the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), established in 2005.
Since 2008, the focus of Washington has been to develop a PA security force with paramilitary capabilities, having the capacity to protect the regime of Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, from Hamas and the ability to quell massive demonstrations. Abbas, however, failed to implement laws and directives on the restructuring of the security forces, delineation of responsibilities, and the imposition of effective civilian oversight. 
The office of the U.S. Security Coordinator, located in Jerusalem, is comprised of 16 U.S. military officers assigned to the State Department. 
The Coordinator-supported by such countries as Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Turkey-reports directly to the secretary of state and oversees security aid to the PA as well as cooperation between Israel and the PA-administered areas. The U.S. goal is to assist in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state under the control of Abbas and the Fatah.
The U.S. strategy for achieving this goal began with the rebuilding of the PA security force structure, infrastructure, equipment and training.
By 2011, the strategy of the U.S. Coordinator’s office, with a staff of 145 personnel, shifted to the development of PA indigenous readiness, training, and logistics programs as well as the capability to maintain and sustain operational readiness and support infrastructure. The Coordinator’s office also envisioned enhanced security between Israel and the PA, as well as the improvement of the PA justice and prison sectors. 
By July 2011, U.S.-financed training programs graduated 4,761 Palestinian cadets from the U.S.-supported Jordanian International Police Training Center in Amman. The Coordinator's office also conducted training in the West Bank attended by 3,500 security commanders and troops.  Washington helped build joint operations centers for planning, command, and control as well as the National Training Center in Jericho. The facilities were meant to help the United States transition into a new role of "advise and assist" for the PA Interior Ministry and security forces. In mid-2011, the USSC determined that PA security forces were becoming a "responsive and effective professional force." 
The most influential U.S. official involved with nurturing the PA security forces was Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, who served for five years in the post of Coordinator.
Dayton, alone among his peers, was involved in PA operations, training, appointments and even deployment of forces. To the consternation of senior Palestinian officials, the U.S. general established a system of rewarding those individual commanders who cooperated with him and worked to secure the dismissal of those who did not.  As a result, PA commanders followed Dayton because of either a personal or political agenda, or because they wanted their units to receive American equipment.  One Palestinian critic who lost his position as a result of criticizing Dayton was Col. Tawfiq Tirawi, then chief of the General Intelligence Services.
The European Union has been training PA police, with more than 3,000 personnel trained via Britain's Hart Security.  Over the last two years, EU focus has been on developing Special Forces, with France overseeing the training and equipping of Special Forces for site and diplomatic security. The three-week course designed for this - referred to a "train the trainer" - has been sponsored by France's Compagnies Republicaines de Securite. This is a program that has sought to develop indigenous PA security capabilities. French instructors have taught PA police such skills as public order, defensive tactics, communications, and crowd control.
A Closer Look at the PA Forces
In 2005, Abbas reorganized the Palestinian Security Services into six main units.
The PA chairman issued a decree to dismantle branches such as Force 17, the praetorian guard of the late Yasser Arafat. Efforts were launched to coordinate security agencies such +
s the Preventive Security Apparatus. Abbas, under a policy that called for mandatory retirement at age 60, also dismissed veteran commanders in the PA and replaced them with younger and more modern-thinking personnel. The PA Interior Ministry reduced the number of armed personnel by 90 percent, as of the end of 2010.
However, aging commanders loyal to Abbas remained.
Indeed, the ruling Fatah movement has not lost any of its influence over the PA security forces. Despite efforts by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to professionalize the security forces, some 80 percent of all officers were either Fatah members or affiliated with the movement. The commanders of all six major agencies have been members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, regarded as the monitoring body of the movement.  The Interior Ministry, which oversees much of the security forces, is also dominated by Fatah members. The commanders of all six major agencies have been members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, regarded as the monitoring body of the movement.
PA Civil Police
The civil force of some 8,000 remains the least affected by the halt in PA salaries. Most of the members of this force are young men who still follow orders of their superiors and believe the promises that Arab states will end the fiscal crisis in Ramallah.
This force, the first to reappear in the West Bank after the second uprising in 2000, has been under the tight control of Brig. Gen. Hazem Atallah, who regards the financial crisis as a key challenge of his command. Although salaries are still forthcoming for this force, the crisis has affected operations in other ways. Fuel has been at a premium, thus limiting the reach of PA police operations. Plans to open and maintain police stations in rural areas of the West Bank, particularly in the north, have also been hampered.
National Security Force (NSF)
This U.S.-trained unit of nearly 10,000 officers has been significantly hurt by the fiscal crisis. Training of NSF personnel declined and corruption rose significantly in 2012. The problem has been compounded by the fact that at least 20 percent of the force was meant to protect the regime against plots within PA security units.
The Force’s biggest problem has been NSF commanders who often see themselves as fiefdom chiefs, particularly in the northern West Bank. Many of them have lent themselves out as muscle for organized crime in such cities as Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm. Connected to a lead security agency, these commanders have been able to dismiss pressure from the Interior Ministry or even rival agencies. NSF was heavily implicated in the death of Jenin Gov. Khadoura Mussa, who threatened to hamper the growing relationship between militias and their partners in NSF. The force was said to have been split over the last year in wake of the resignation of longtime chief Maj. Gen. Dib Al Ali. Al Ali, close to Abbas and on excellent terms with Israel and the United States, was replaced by Nidal Abu Dukhan, who has marginalized those seen as loyal to his predecessor. 
Presidential Guard (PG)
The 3,000-member PG has been in decline despite U.S. programs to enhance this praetorian force of Abbas. The PG has been on alert amid the growing protest movement, which has included demonstrations outside the presidential compound in Ramallah. It has dealt harshly with largely peaceful sit-ins, dispersing protests and threatening human rights monitors. The fiscal crisis has led to an increase in moonlighting within the PG, and to
extortion of Palestinian businessmen.
Intelligence Services: General Intelligence; Preventative Security;Military Intelligence
The intelligence services have sustained less damage from the fiscal crisis than other forces. This is because several of the intelligence agencies receive funds from Western donors rather than simply from the Palestinian government. France has been helping the General Intelligence Services. GIS, which plans to train 1,200 officers in such technical skills as surveillance and data analysis, reports directly to Abbas.
The United States has been pumping money into the Preventive Security Apparatus, the largest of the intelligence agencies. PSA, with 4,000 members, has led most PA counter-insurgency operations, particularly against Hamas and Jihad. Formally, PSA reports to the Interior Ministry as well as the prime minister's office, but many of these operations remain under the supervision of the United States and are monitored by Israel. Officially, Washington ended support for PSA, but U.S. aid has been quietly channeled to PSA as part of an effort to bolster forces loyal to Fatah in case of any war with Hamas.
Washington's efforts to encourage a merger of PSA and GIS have been unsuccessful. A key reason is that the commanders of the agencies represent rival constituencies. GIS officers come largely from exile, particularly Tunis, while PSA stems from Fatah fighters who led the first uprising against Israel in the late 1980s. 
Military Intelligence has sustained a greater decline in morale amid the fiscal crisis than the other intelligence agencies. This force, nominally under NSF, has become a factor amid the power struggle within Fatah as MI officers provide muscle for rival factions. Despite efforts at reform, MI has failed to move from a political to a professional force and efforts to coordinate with NSF have failed.
In August 2012, some 20 PA officers were investigated on allegations of working with organized crime and gun-running. The probe determined that crime families in
almost every major city under PA control were offering police and security personnel part-time work doing everything from protecting homes to providing tips on police patrols and investigations. The biggest cases of corruption were in cities.
Abbas ordered a crackdown on Fatah and PA officers in Jenin after the death of its governor, Khaddoura Mussa. He died hours after his home was fired upon, it was believed. by PA personnel.
Two of the shooters were identified as loyalists of outgoing NSF commander Al Ali, who was involved in a power struggle at the time of his resignation. The crackdown included Fatah militia commander Zakaria Zubeidi, accused of killing an Israeli Arab filmmaker in 2011, as well as participating in the attack on Mussa. During his subsequent five months in prison, Zubeidi was also interrogated in connection with the assassination of Hisham Al Rukh, deputy commander of PSA in Jenin in March 2012. 
The corruption of the PA security forces has been exacerbated by the fiscal crisis in 2012. For most of the year, Palestinian civil servants received at most only a portion of their salaries and sometimes nothing. The failure to pay salaries has been blamed on Israel as well as Arab and Western donors. But many Palestinians assert that the real cause is official corruption and nepotism.
By December 2012, the 180,000 civil servants of the PA worked no more than three days a week and planned additional walkouts. The PA requires $200 million a month for salaries, more than half of which was meant to come from tax revenues from Palestinians who work in Israel. The rest of the salary budget was meant to come from foreign aid. The Palestinian Monetary Fund says the PA is in debt for $1.5 billion. 
In the past, PA security officers walked off their jobs more than other Palestinian civil servants. During the crisis in 2007, as few as 20 percent of PA officers showed up to work. Abbas and his ministers could do little as most of the PA agencies retained their autonomy and commanders rejected all civilian oversight. 
Abbas Uses Forces to Quell Criticism, Fight Rivals
Squashing protests about corruption
Abbas has used PA security forces to retaliate against critics who accuse him of corruption.
Major allegations of corruption involve his two sons, whom he has allowed to gain major stakes in Western-financed development projects in the West Bank. Abbas has been able to manipulate foreign investment through his control over the Palestine Investment Fund. Inexplicably, PIF still operates in the Gaza Strip, captured by Hamas in 2007. 
In all, Abbas' sons have won contracts for more than $250 million. For his part, the PA chairman was said to earn $1 million a month. Abbas has charged donors for personal expenses of more than $1 billion since he became chairman of the PA in November 2004. In a recent move, Abbas, whose fleet included two Western aircraft, requested a presidential jet from Russia. 
Yasser, the elder Abbas son, has been allowed by his father to enjoy a monopoly on the sale of U.S.-origin cigarettes in the West Bank. The other Abbas, son, Tarek, has been allowed to peddle influence through his father in contracts for the U.S. government. 
The Palestinian media have been unable to report this because of the fear of Abbas' security forces. Those who raised this issue have been arrested. In the first half of 2012, at least nine Palestinian journalists were arrested by the PA. A blogger, Jamal Abu Rihan, was arrested soon after he wrote on his Facebook page "The people want an end to corruption." 
As a result, the allegations have been aired abroad and the PA chairman has threatened law suits against media outlets in Qatar, Israel, and the United States. 
Abbas' two sons have also been using their father to shield business partners wanted for criminal activities. The U.S. Congress has been told that in 2009 the PA granted diplomatic passports to Issam and Devincci Hourani that provide them with immunity in their travels. Devincci, a U.S. citizen, has worked with Yasser Abbas for Caratube International Oil Co., based in Sudan. Devincci was also partnered with Yasser Abbas in the construction of a hotel in Sudan. 
Abbas has used almost all of his forces to stop dissent. PA police have established a special women's unit to violently disperse women protesters, including peaceful demonstrations against PSA.  The PA women officers operate in civilian dress and were trained to kick and slap women and children as well as journalists.
The Presidential Guard has been used to break up sit-ins near Abbas' office. PG personnel, many of them trained by the United States, have also been ordered to harass and threaten human rights workers.  Even PA civil police were ordered to stop protests in Ramallah, and in June and July 2012 anti-riot police and plainclothes officers attacked and injured marchers as well as journalists. The assault was led by Col. Latif Khaddoumi, police chief in Ramallah, and his assistant, Mohammed Abu Bakr, and aided by GIS, who sought to stop media coverage of the marches, which began as a protest of a meeting between Abbas and an Israeli politician.  The European Union expressed concern over the use of police to quell peaceful protests, but stressed that the training program would continue. 
Many of the protests were organized through the social media. In response, the PA, in an order by Attorney General Ahmed Al Mughni and deemed a major shift in policy, blocked websites of independent news outlets. Al Mughni was believed to have been directed by Abbas himself or the head of an intelligence agency. 
PA security forces also play a major role in monitoring schools and teachers. The PA-approved Independent Commission for Human Rights has received more than 400 complaints from teachers who were either dismissed or refused employment because of their political orientation. Those working for the Palestinian media also require security clearance. 
Pursuing political enemies
Abbas has used his U.S.-trained security forces to destroy or exile rivals in the Fatah.
In 2011, Abbas ordered security units to attack the Ramallah home of Mohammed Dahlan, where aides were arrested, and millions of dollars worth of cars and equipment confiscated. Abbas' feud with Dahlan goes back 20 years when Arafat appointed him commander of PSA in the Gaza Strip. The post allowed Dahlan and his cronies to gain information about corruption in the PA, including by Abbas and his family. In July 2011, Abbas arrested 15 supporters of Dahlan and purged the security forces of anybody believed to be a sympathizer. A month later, Fatah said Dahlan's expulsion from Fatah was final.  By that time, Dahlan and his family had fled to exile.
Despite international criticism, Abbas has bolstered the powers of such agencies as GIS and PSA. In 2007, the PA chairman granted PSA the power of arrest and detention. Four years later, GIS said it would no longer issue arrest warrants against civilians or try them in military courts. PSA, however, continues to hold dozens of civilians while Military Intelligence has been allowed to act against civilians. 
U.S. Difficulties in Tracking Aid to PA
Washington has sought to avoid dealing with the question of PA corruption and particularly the use of American aid by Abbas' family. Indeed, critics, supported by internal U.S. reports, have asserted that a significant percentage of U.S. aid to the PA has been given in cash, in US currency.
Since 2008, the United States has provided the PA with nearly $3 billion.  Once the cash payments are made by Washington, it becomes "impossible or nearly impossible to track." The result: U.S. aid was found to be funding Palestinians who were deemed by the US to be terrorists - via the PA budget. The State Department was not seen as making any genuine effort to prevent security funds from reaching members of terrorist organizations. In 2007, the U.S. Agency for International Development, which funds UNRWA refugee camps controlled by Hamas, concluded that it was unable to "reasonably ensure" that assistance was not ending up in the hands of terrorist organizations. 
PA Security Operations in Jerusalem
Abbas, despite agreements with the US and with Israel, has encouraged PA security forces to operate in Jerusalem. Israeli police have repeatedly arrested PA security and intelligence officers assigned to enforce Palestinian law in Israel's capital. PA officers were alleged to have abducted Arab residents of Jerusalem and escorted them to Ramallah for interrogation and detention. In other cases, PA officers were used to harass residents of Jerusalem. The PA security presence was believed to be especially strong in Jerusalem's northern neighborhoods near Ramallah.  At one point, every PA security agency, including GIS and PSA, was said to maintain a presence in Jerusalem. The PA, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, has proclaimed the right to operate anywhere in Jerusalem, saying this was part of its policy to transform Jerusalem into the Palestinian capital. 
The PA presence in Jerusalem, which began immediately after Arafat arrived in the Gaza Strip in 1994, has resisted years of Israeli security and political moves to oust Palestinian troops from Jerusalem. This has included Israeli coordination with Jordan in an effort to marginalize the PA, particularly on the Temple Mount, another stronghold of PA security forces.
In 2004, Israel was assessed-albeit mistakenly-to have ended the PA penetration of Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem after a decade of killings, abductions and extortion. 
PA Forces Used Against Jews
The Palestinian Authority has used its security forces against Jews who engage in land deals with Arabs. The PSF has investigated all land deals by Palestinians to see if the buyers were Jews. PSF has arrested and detained Palestinians for agreeing to sell property in and around Jerusalem.
On December 10, 2012, a PA court in Bethlehem sentenced two Palestinians to hard labor on conviction of selling land to Jewish developers from Betar. The Jews were alleged to have offered $45,000 for a dunam of land, nearly 10 times the market price.  The two Arabs, residents of the Bethlehem-area village of Hussan and owners of 38 dunams were sentenced to 10 years in prison. The investigation of the Arab “suspects” was conducted by the PSA, which has been monitoring all land sales in Area C, where Israel retains full civilian and security control. 
NSF and other PA forces have also tried to stop Jews from reaching religious sites.
Despite an agreement between Israel and the PA that allowed Jews to visit Jewish holy sites in PA areas, NSF and police fired toward 17 Jewish pilgrims who were leaving Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Under the Israel-PA agreement, the Israeli Army was to have maintained full control over Joseph's Tomb. After numerous Palestinian attacks, including those joined by PA troops, Israel turned over control of the tomb to the PA, which in 2011 took responsibility for protecting the site.
However, on April 24, 2011, during the Passover holiday, NSF troops opened point blank fire on Jewish worshipers who were leaving Joseph's Tomb, after morning prayers.
Five people were struck by PA fire, among them, Ben Yosef Livnat, a nephew of a senior Israeli minister, was killed instantly. The PA, despite Israeli pressure, refused to condemn the killing of the Jewish civilian. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, while acknowledging that the visit of the Jews was not coordinated with the IDF, insisted that this did not justify the shooting by PA troops. Barak called for an investigation.  For several days, the PA refused to confirm that its troops opened fire on Jewish pilgrims. Nablus Gov. Jibril Al Bakri said a PA police patrol had been assigned to guard the tomb and blamed any problems on lack of Israeli coordination. 
An Israel Army investigation pointed to serious failures in the vetting of PA security forces, including those accepted for U.S. training in Jordan.
The investigation, bolstered by witnesses, asserted that NSF officers began firing in the air as soon as the Jewish worshipers entered Joseph's Tomb. The Jews rushed to their three cars and began to leave when five NSF officers again opened fire on vehicles. An NSF non-commissioned officer, screaming "God is great," ran toward one of the Jewish vehicles and began shooting at close range from at least three sides.  The NSF unit did not inform either its commanders or Israeli authorities of the shooting. The three cars filled with worshipers - one dead and four injured - reached an Israel Army roadblock where they were taken to a hospital.
The Israeli army and Israel Security Agency, the ISA, also known as the Shabak, responsible for domestic intelligence, reached the conclusion that the incident was a “Palestinian terrorist attack" and determined that the NSF officers intended to kill Jewish worshipers.  On the other hand, the PA investigation concluded that the NSF officers did not intend to kill the Jews, while commanders claimed that the Jews, who did not carry weapons, opened fire, threw stones, and sought to run down the Palestinians. The PA found the five PA officers guilty of "grave negligence" and were placed in prison in Nablus out of concern that they would be arrested by Israel. 
The Israeli investigation determined that the main NSF shooter, in his late 20s, was known to the IDF and ISA as a terrorist arrested in connection with shooting attacks on Israelis. Under agreement, Israel is supposed to vet and approve every cadet in the PA security forces to ensure that those convicted of terrorist offenses are not included. In practice, however, an undetermined number of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel on security offenses have been recruited by PA security forces. 
PA officers stationed at Joseph's Tomb - identified as Mohammed Tsabana, Saleh Hamed, Wa'el Daoud, Nawaf Bani Uda and Turki Zuara - were also part of two NSF battalions in Nablus trained in Jordan by the United States. This also required Israeli vetting.
There is no evidence that the US State Department, responsible for U.S. security aid to the PA, has conducted any investigation at all of the killing of the Jewish worshiper, whose mother is an American citizen.
In April 2011, Abbas signed a bill that called for a monthly stipend for all Palestinians as well as Israeli Arabs who have been convicted and sentenced by Israel for murder or attempted murder of Jews. The Palestinian Media Watch testified in the US Congress that funds which emanated from the U.S. and other donations were allocated for the "glorification and role-modeling of terrorists." 
The nightmare of the Israel Army is that the PA, directed by the ruling Fatah movement, would reconcile with Hamas and begin joint operations against Jews.
That is what is now transpiring.
In November 2012, in the aftermath of the missile war between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza, Fatah and PA officials expressed admiration for Hamas and said they were ready for a serious reconciliation effort to force Israel to conduct a full retreat to the armistice lines, which existed from 1949 until 1967.
A Fatah group proclaimed that it formed a military brigade in Hebron, long a Hamas stronghold.
Fatah's military also pledged to continue attacks on Israel and avenge the assassination of Hamas military chief Jabari.
An officer in Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, loyal to Abbas, claimed its militia had fired 600 mortars and rockets into Israel and the arsenal had not been depleted. 
The Al Aqsa statement came amid a series of declarations by Fatah leaders, including those close to Abbas, that the PA would work with Hamas against Israel. At least five members of the Fatah Central Committee welcomed the Hamas missile war on Israel in November and said this has dissipated their opposition to sharing power with the Islamist movement.
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and founder of the PA's Preventive Security Force loyal to Abbas, declared at a rally in Ramallah that the Palestinians will fight until they establish a state and all Jews are removed from Palestinian areas. In an address broadcast by the PNC Palestinian state television, Rajoub, regarded as an intimate of Abbas, declared that Fatah was ready to shoot and urged Hamas to join the effort. 
The Israel Army has already detected evidence of Fatah-Hamas coordination in areas under the direct control of the Palestinian Authority.
Israeli military and security units have been tracking the resumption of activities by Fatah gunmen who had benefited from an amnesty by Israel in 2007.
Israel has arrested former members of Fatah's military wing in the area south of Hebron.
Some of these Fatah gunmen were later offered work in PA security forces and have been linked to the killing of Israelis in the Hebron area. One of those arrested was identified as Waal Al Araja, an officer for PSA, accused of killing an American Israeli citizen Asher Palmer, 24, and his infant son Yonatan in September 2011. Al Araja was believed to have headed the insurgency cell that planned the attack. 
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority praise of Jabari, responsible for the death of more than 1,000 Israelis over the last decade, came even from those considered the most moderate elements in Fatah. Former PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath called on Palestinians to "have mercy" for Jabari, and described him as a hero. Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, and also an intimate of Abbas, called for unity with Hamas, which, he asserted, would "win further victories for us." 
Shaath vowed that, with Hamas cooperation, Fatah and the PA would escalate what he termed the struggle against Israel in 2013. 
Another PA official who is often described in the public domain as a moderate, Mahmoud Al Aloul, stressed that neither Fatah nor the PA has ended the option of "armed resistance." Instead, this option required the suitable climate both within the Palestinian sector as well as in the international community. Al Aloul expressed the hope that the “Arab Spring” would be the trigger for another war against Israel. 
Abbas, himself, has funneled tens of millions of dollars to the Hamas regime in Gaza. The PA has continued to pay 36,500 security personnel in the Gaza Strip despite that none of them have worked for the PA since the Hamas takeover in 2007 
Hamas has exploited the renewed reconciliation with the PA to expand its military infrastructure in areas under the control of the PA. Israel's intelligence community has determined that Hamas political bureau Chief Khaled Masha'al, has ordered the establishment of military cells to take over areas now under the control of the PA.
An intelligence assessment, relayed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, asserted that Masha'al's orders reflected Iranian guidance and assistance to oust Fatah from the all of the Palestinian leadership, the same way that the Abbas-led movement was destroyed in the Gaza Strip in 2007.  The Hamas strategy was based on the reactivation of sleeper cells established in all areas controlled by the PA over the last decade. 
The PA has been tolerant of other Islamist groups in its midst, particularly those that draw support from rich Gulf Arab sheiks. Even Salafist groups, inspired by Al Qaida, have been allowed to receive Gulf funds and establish a presence in mosques monitored by the PA. Indeed, the Salafists have enjoyed the support of Fatah and were appointed to PA agencies in an effort to compete with Hamas, particularly in Nablus. The arrangement was conditioned on a ban on Salafist criticism of Abbas himself even as members espouse war against Jews and other non-Muslims. 
Indeed, PA control over mosques have been weak, a factor exploited by Hamas. Hamas has quietly dominated many if not most of the mosques, even those staffed by civil servants. In some cases, Hamas was believed to have been storing weapons in mosques as PA-appointed preachers, often inspired by Muslim Brotherhood figures around the Arab world, gave Friday sermons that severely criticized the Abbas regime. 
Israel-Palestinian Authority Cooperation
Cooperation between Israel and the PA has been linked to a range of political and economic factors, including unrest in Palestinian Arab cities and the fiscal crisis in the PA. In mid-2012, however, cracks began to widen in the relationship between the Israel Army and PA security forces.  At the same time PA police and security forces began to harass Israel Army patrols and operations around PA administered cities.
In November, 2012, the PA National Security Forces prevented an Israel Army patrol from entering Tulkarm. Two days later, NSF stopped a similar Israeli operation in Jenin. In both cases, Israeli troops, reflecting orders by the General Staff, chose to suspend their mission rather than confront the PA. For its part, the PA, in wake of the UN vote for official non-state membership, ordered its security forces to hamper Israel Army operations and defined every Israeli soldier as "a conqueror on occupied land." 
The Israeli military has warned the PA against this new policy, which included the lifting of the ban on Hamas rallies. Hamas rallies have been held on a weekly basis and often end in clashes with Israeli troops. The rallies are seen as part of the PA policy to escalate unrest against Israel without harming relations with the United States. 
A focus of Hamas unrest has been in Hebron, a divided city with 250,000 Arabs and 1,000 Jews. At one point, Israel threatened that its military would battle Hamas unless the PA intervened, which prompted some Palestinian armed units to try to restore order. Still, the PA leadership has been willing to mar security cooperation, including blaming Israel for the current fiscal crisis as well as decisions to construct Jewish housing in Jerusalem and its suburbs. Without their monthly salaries, PA troops could be placed in the position where they would sabotage any cooperation with Israel.  At the same time, Abbas warned that the PA was prepared for any contingency should Israel build housing near Jerusalem. 
The biggest threat to the Israel Army stems from the PA forces trained by the United States since 2008. Israeli military intelligence regards the eight National Security Forces battalions trained in Jordan under U.S. sponsorship as a "significant military force." 
The Israel Army's Central Command has determined that NSF was showing significant skills in complex operations as well as in command and control. In mid-2012, the Command was impressed by the response of the PA security forces to the death of Jenin Gov. Khaddoura Mussa. The Jenin operation was regarded as noteworthy. Within hours of Mussa's death on May 2, the PA organized a joint operation command under Interior Minister Said Al Ali. The command coordinated operations in UNRWA refugee camps around Jenin and Nablus, where around 150 people were arrested on suspicion of belonging to militias linked to Fatah dissidents, including members of the intelligence services. PSA officer Ibrahim Ramadan led the operation and detained even those suspected of possessing a weapon. Members of PSA and NSF were also arrested on allegations that they were working for former PSA commander Mohammed Dahlan, expelled from Fatah in 2011. 
At the same time, the Israeli Army saw the PA crackdown as the latest demonstration of signs that NSF and other U.S.-trained units were forming breakaway squads that could eventually attack Israeli troops and civilians.  Despite statements to the contrary, the Israeli Army has long been wary of a blow-back by U.S.-trained PA forces. As early as 2009, Israeli officers expressed concern that U.S. training could produce PA units proficient in small group tactics, weapons and operational skills that could be used against Israeli soldiers and civilians. The assessment envisioned Israeli forces taken by surprise at the start of any insurgency war in the West Bank, particularly by those PA officers trained as snipers. Then-Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi assessed that as few as four snipers could "shut down an urban area." Mizrahi regarded the NSF troops as a "proper infantry force." 
As a result, the Israeli Army has sought to stop the PA from acquiring weapons and platforms agreed to by the Israeli government. The most intense opposition has been to 50 armored personnel carriers donated by Russia to the PA in 2005. While Israeli leaders repeatedly promised Moscow to approve delivery of the combat platforms, the Russian vehicles, painted twice to prevent rusting, have been stranded in neighboring Jordan. The army has demanded that the PA remove mounts for the 12.7 mm guns, with a range of nearly four kilometers. Another demand was that the vehicles do not include communications systems. The PA has refused these demands. 
At the same time, the Israel Army has been looking for PA officers suspected of forming insurgency squads. These squads were believed to be in Hebron and in Nablus. In late 2011, tensions escalated among PA officers as their colleagues were arrested in Israeli raids. Those nabbed included NSF and PSA officers, some of them suspected of links with Hamas cells.  The arrests within the PA intelligence community have included top officers assigned to monitor and crack down on Hamas. In December 2012, Israel acknowledged that two senior intelligence commanders were arrested in the Hebron region. Ahmed Bhais was the operations director of the PA General Intelligence Service in Hebron, and Mohammed Abu Eid was GI commander in the Hebron-area town of Yatta. 
As early as 2010, intelligence agencies under Abbas' control were ordered to increase operations in Area C, particularly Hebron. GIS, for example, increased its informant network, and under Western guidance enhanced such skills as data analysis on intelligence regarding Israeli communities. The requirement for such intelligence had been deemed one of the greatest weaknesses of PA intelligence and security agencies. 
The Israeli Army has been preparing for the prospect of PA attacks in cooperation with Hamas. In December 2012, Central Command conducted what was termed a surprise exercise north of Ramallah that sought to demonstrate coordination between the army and police. The exercise envisioned Fatah and PA gunmen opening fire toward Israeli troops during a civilian demonstration. The command deployed the Israel Artillery Corps, as well as the Israel Border police and Israeli civilian police units. 
Abbas, Fayyad on the Wane
Until 2011, PA Prime Minister Fayyad sought to separate security policy from Fatah efforts to win unilateral Israeli concessions on such issues as withdrawal and statehood. Fayyad told security commanders that any snag or stalemate in relations with Israel would not constitute justification for ending either security cooperation with the Jewish state or a robust counter-insurgency effort against Hamas.  The price for Fayyad's demand was Fatah approval for major appointments in the security agencies as well as reform, human rights and restructuring. Fayyad knew that even with control of the purse strings, he could only go so far without provoking a violent backlash by Fatah.
By mid-2012, Fayyad had lost most of his authority over the PA security forces. Over the last year, Abbas has marginalized Fayyad as the chairman sought to accommodate the rise of Hamas. Meanwhile, Abbas and Fayyad are barely on speaking terms, and the prime minister, who retains excellent relations with donor nations, has been reduced to a "glorified accountant." 
However, [Alleged] President Barack Obama did not halt or slow down U.S. aid to the PA - even after it successfully sought non-state membership in the United Nations.  Moreover, U.S. diplomats have refused to acknowledge increasing PA civil rights violations, which have been attributed to the PA security forces that are trained by the US. The administration has also opposed moves in Congress to stop funding PA security programs.
There are indications that there is increasing coordination between Fatah and Hamas in planning attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. In December 2012, in some areas of Jerusalem, Palestinian squads engaged in nightly attacks on Israeli police patrols. At least one squad has deployed Hamas operatives assigned to conduct what the PA terms "non-violent resistance," which include firebombs and stones. 
Israeli intelligence sources report that the PA-Hamas coordination of these squads reflects an agreement between Abbas and Hamas leader Masha'al to spark a war against Israel based on the use of Palestinian civilian fighters. Both men agree that a military confrontation with Israel would be unsuccessful and therefore Hamas and the PA must use civilians and massive protests to drag Israel into a shooting war. This would isolate the Jewish state and bring it under massive international pressure for a unilateral withdrawal from Jerusalem and the West Bank.  Abbas' concession was the renewal of Hamas rallies throughout the West Bank.
At this point, Abbas and Masha'al appear to disagree on the goal of the next uprising, meant to be based on the first intifada in 1987-1991. Abbas hopes the next uprising would force Israel to duplicate its unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 - this time from all PA controlled areas. Masha'al sees the next confrontation as the destruction of Israel. So far, both men have decided to shelve their differences and focus on escalating tension and mobilizing Palestinians for a long confrontation with Israel. 
The difference between the 1987 uprising and the next one is that the PA has some 30,000 active troops and another 36,500 on the payroll. Hamas has at least 25,000 fighters in the Gaza Strip and thousands of armed men in PA controlled areas.
The prospect that any civil uprising would remain limited to stones or even firebombs appears nil. With Palestinian arsenals brimming with weapons and advanced U.S. security equipment, Israel could find itself fighting a war against Palestinians who are armed, trained, and financed by its greatest ally - the United States.
1. "Squaring The Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation"
International Crisis Group. September 2010
3. State Department mission statement on U.S. Security Coordinator's Office
5. Testimony by U.S. Security Coordinator Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. July 12, 2011
7. "Fatah Elections May Herald Changes in Palestinian Authority Security Policy" Jane's Defense Weekly, Aug. 14, 2009.
8. "Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation" International Crisis Group. September 2010
9. EUPOL. June 22, 2011
10. "Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation" International Crisis Group. September 2010
11. "PA Arrests More than 100 Following Death of Jenin Governor" Amira Hess. Haaretz. June 25, 2012
12. "Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation" International Crisis Group. September 2010
13. "Former Fatah Commander Accuses PA of Torture" Khaled Abu Toameh Jerusalem Post. April 10, 2012
14. "Protests on unpaid wages to continue in Palestine" Gulf News. Dec. 24, 2012
15. "Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation" International Crisis Group. September 2010
16. Testimony of Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia,
July 10, 2012
17. "A Bid: Israel Threatens to Topple Abbas" Itamar Eichner. Ynet.
November 14, 2012
18. "The Brothers Abbas" Jonathan Schanzer Foreign Policy. June 5
19. Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms. Sept. 23, 2012
20. "Abbas son says to sue US magazine over wealth claims" Maan. June 12, 2012
21. Testimony of Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia,
July 10, 2012
22. Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Nov. 14, 2012
23. Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Nov. 4, 2012
24. Palestinian Center for Human Rights. July 2, 2012
25. Maan news agency. July 3, 2012
26. "Palestinian Media Clampdown Spreads to the Web" Maan. April 23, 2012
27. International Crisis Group. Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation" September 2010
28. Testimony of Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia,
July 10, 2012
29. "No News is Good News Abuses against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces" Human Rights Watch. April 2011
30. "Americans living in Israel sue Clinton, State Dept. over claimed terror group funding" The Daily Caller. Nov. 27, 2012
31. "Bernstein vs. Clinton" Israel Law Center suit against the U.S. government by 24 Americans in Israel. November 2012. The suit charges that the federal government has ignored congressional safeguards to prevent U.S. aid from reaching terrorists.
32. "Palestinian police officers operating in Jerusalem" Israel Today Aug. 25, 2008
33. Israel Today. Feb. 16, 2012
34. "The Expulsion of the Palestinian Authority from Jerusalem and the Temple Mount" Dan Diker. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Aug. 2004
35. Maan news agency. Dec. 10, 2012
36. Gulf Daily News. Dec. 11
37. "PA Arabs Celebrate Murder by Desecrating Joseph’s Tomb" Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Israel National News. April 24, 2011
38. Associated Press. "Israeli Killed, 4 Wounded in West Bank Shooting" April 24, 2011
39. Account from a witness. Dec. 26, 2012
40. Recorded meeting of Israel Army Col. Nimrod Aloni, Shomron Brigade commander, with Livnat family. May 8, 2011.
41. Israeli security officer. May 2011
42. Ibid. "All they have to do is proclaim loyalty to Fatah."
43. "U.S. Paying Salaries for Jailed Palestinian Terrorists" Jerusalem Post. July 26, 2011
44. Fatah video statement. Dec. 14, 2012
45. Al Ayyam, owned by the PA. Dec. 2, 2012
46. PA television. Nov. 29, 2012
47. Maan. Dec. 9, 2012
48. Haaretz. Dec. 9
49. PA television. Nov. 22, 2012
50. Shaath: Boycott, Civil Disobedience to Escalate in 2013. Ma'an Dec. 20
51. Watan television. Private channel in the West Bank. Oct. 8, 2012. Links to these televised statements were provided by Palestinian Media Watch, Dec. 13, 2002
52. Testimony of Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia,
July 10, 2012
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Algemeiner “Didn’t Give a Damn About the Jewish Community”
While former Nebraska Senator and likely Secretary of Defense nominee, Chuck Hagel, has drawn criticism in recent days over his foreign policy positions, and specifically his hostility to Israel, members of Nebraska’s Jewish community spoke to The Algemeiner about their experiences with him during his time in office.
Former editor of the Omaha Jewish Press, Carol Katzman, who was in that role while Hagel was in office, related her experiences with him in an interview with The Algemeiner.
“He was not the most responsive politician in Nebraska to me personally at the Jewish Press and to the Jewish community as a whole,” she said.
“Every other senator, Nelson, Mike Johanns, (congressman) Lee Terry and (congressman) Peter Hoagland they were all very responsive,” she explained, “it didn’t really matter what their party affiliation was, if we were soliciting them for an interview or a greeting ad for Rosh Hashonah or Passover.” However Katzman says that “Hagel’s office never even responded,” adding, “we would make repeated calls, (and received) no response it was pretty obvious that he and his staff were dismissive.”
“The universal feeling in the Jewish community was don’t bother, don’t waste your time, Katzman said, “I think after a while people gave up and said, we were not going to get anywhere.”
“Hagel was the only one we have had in Nebraska, who basically showed the Jewish community that he didn’t give a damn about the Jewish community or any of our concerns,” Katzman concluded.
Gary Javitch, a leader and activist in a number of Jewish organizations and a resident of Omaha for over forty years met with Hagel at the Senator’s Washington D.C. office a number of times, and hosted him for a speaking engagement. “We were trying to get across certain points regarding Israel’s position and he would do a number of things,” said Jaivitch, “One thing he would do, is when we tried to express a viewpoint he would pick up on it and then go on a 15 to 20 minute explanation of his view-point, leaving us no opportunity or little opportunity to speak, taking advantage of his office [...] to take over the entire conversation,” he said.
“The second thing he would do,” continued Javitch, “and this was repeated office visit after office visit, he would have his aide come in, slip him a note and say, don’t forget you have a committee meeting in like 10 minutes and then he would go on to speak for 15 or 20 minutes, so we were under pressure for time and he was taking up all the time.”
“During his last year in office, we knew he was not going to run again, he never returned any of our calls,” Javitch, who was representing major Jewish organizations at the time added “I have always gotten callbacks, even as a turn-down.”
Asked about his positions on Israel, Javitch said that Hagel always placed the blame on Israel, demanding “more and more concessions, Israel was at fault when things went wrong, the Palestinians didn’t need to adhere to any standard.”
Another Jewish community activist, Nate Schwalb, who has been living in Nebraska for 54 years, described Hagel’s relationship with the Jewish community as “unfriendly” with views on Israel that were “often contradictory to widely held views by other politicians about Israel.”
“He didn’t seem to show much interest in Israel and in Jewish people,” he said.
“He thinks that there is an Israeli lobby that’s too strong,” continued Schwalb, “I think it is well established that he is not a friend of Israel.”
“I think he is a pretty intelligent fellow, he just has a skewed view,” he concluded.
Blogging for Objective Conservative, Patrick McPherson, a Nebraska political consultant recounted an incident that he told The Algemeiner was relayed to him by Ally Milder, the late Jewish Republican activist and congressional contender who worked with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley.
When “…the late Ally Milder visited the senator in his Washington, D.C. senate office (she) was told by Hagel, ‘that she was nothing but a f–king tool for AIPAC,’” he writes.
“From that point on, Milder never had anything to do with this guy who even then made clear his anti-Jewish sentiments,” writes McPherson.
Another politically active Jewish Nebraskan who claims to have known Hagel for “almost 20 years, politically and non-politically,” spoke to The Algemeiner on condition of anonymity.
“I was alarmed with his views about Israel,” said the source. As Secretary of Defense, “He would treat Israel just like anyone else, no special treatment […] of course it would be damaging to Israel.”
“We were trying to work with him for many years on these issues,” the source added, expressing skepticism over the suggestion that as Secretary of Defense his position would be tempered, saying, “There will be no change in his stance, no negotiation, he is unmovable when it comes to Israel.”
The individual also criticized [Alleged] President Obama for considering Hagel’s nomination. “His views have never been hidden, the person who is nominating him has to know about his views on Israel.”
“The person who is nominating him is totally disregarding Israel. [...] The president has decided that he doesn’t care. It would be tragic for Israel,” the source concluded.
Another Jewish activist, Nebraska attorney and member of AIPAC, Steven Riekes, who met with Hagel on a number of occasions over the years related: “I was as at an AIPAC meeting at his office before he left (office,) the meeting was not the most comfortable, it was a little disquieting [...] one of the members of our delegation had quite a confrontation with him.”
“His relationship with the Jewish community of Nebraska as a whole was not the warmest,” Riekes said, comparing the relationship to how it has been with other Nebraskan senators, “It hasn’t been as close by any measure as relationships with Bob Kerrey (and) Senator Nelson, who is retiring now (and) has had a very close relationship with the Jewish community.”
Riekes was nuanced in his assessment of Hagel, “(he) is a very intelligent man, he is thoughtful,” he said, but, “vis-a-vis Israel it becomes complex and difficult.” In defense of Hagel he added, “I would not say his stand is necessarily anti-Israel,” concluding, “He feels that his criticism of Israel is constructive.”