Israel Resource Review
Center for Near East Policy Research
05 May '11
USSC PROGRAM ESTABLISHMENT
In early 2005, the United States established the Office of the U.S. Security Coordinator. Lt. General Keith Dayton served for years as Coordinator and primary force in the development of its program. He has now been succeeded by Lt. General Michael Moeller.
The Hamas coup in Gaza, June 2007, convinced the White House and Congress to become serious about a PA force that could keep Hamas out of the West Bank. Some $370 million has been allocated to train and equip the National Security Forces and the Presidential Guard, primarily in Amman, Jordan.
The goal of this program, stated quite explicitly, was the formation of a Palestinian state. In 2009, General Dayton put a time frame of two years on the establishment of that state.
Multiple questions about the viability and advisability of the program must be raised, however, for there are conceptual flaws inherent in its planning. Americans, eager to see a moderate PA state that can defend itself against terrorism, may have been unrealistic.
A key issue is one of intent of PA troops. Numerous experts attest to the fact that there is no way for a training program to install loyalty to a state. Palestinian society is at core a traditional Arab society, with first loyalty to the clan (some of whose members might belong to Hamas).
The Fatah (PA) connection to Hamas over time was not attended to with sufficient seriousness. Separation between Fatah and Hamas was never as complete as commonly thought. Throughout the course of USSC training, the potential for the PA to join a unity coalition with Hamas existed. This raises the question of why the U.S. has been funding forces to combat Hamas when those very forces had the potential be controlled by Hamas.
Similarly, there have been misunderstandings about the PA position on anti-terrorism. General Ya’akov Amidroriii , who now serves at the National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu rexplained in 2009:
There is a huge difference in the Palestinian view between law enforcement, which is seen as legitimate, and anti-terrorism, which is NOT seen as legitimate. The U.S. confuses the two.
The PA has no laws against money laundering for terror groups; PA statutes do not define any group as a terrorist organization; The PA maintains no agreement to hand over those who have murdered Israelis to the Israeli government.
There has been no action against Hamas undertaken by PA security forces out of anti-terrorist ideological conviction or solely to protect Israel. PA actions have been pragmatic, and thus subject to reversal.
There is a history of PA forces having been trained by the U.S. turning their expertise and weapons against Israelis. Now there is concern that this may happen again - particularly if there is frustration if the state Dayton spoke about does not come to fruition. In recent days there have been incidents - including one death - that are of serious concern.
The human rights record of the PA security forces is horrendous, and there is serious question as to propriety of U.S. support, in light of the evidence.
With all of the above, the bottom line is that the PA has just signed a unity agreement with a terrorist faction overtly sworn to Israel’s destruction. American law may well prohibit further support for the PA in light of this situation.
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