Home
  


Your Time | Jerusalem Time



 Skip Navigation Links
BACKGROUND
Fast Facts
Expert Contacts
Official Contacts
Offices & Organizations
Documents & Maps
Historical Timeline
Help Desk
IN THE NEWS
Price protests
Hamas
Conflict scenarios
Jerusalem
Home demolitions
All Backgrounders
NEWS
Latest News
Multimedia
Reuters Wire
Blogs
Corrections
Advanced Search
COMMUNITY
Notice Board
Calendar
Letters to the Editor
MY JMCC
What is this?
Join
Log In
Set as Homepage
Edit your account
PRESS SERVICES
JMCC Services
Media Directory
Hot Spot
WAYS TO GET JMCC
Dailies & SMS
E-mail Newsletter
RSS
CONTACT US
User Support
Submit a Story
Staff List
Advertise
 

Jerusalem Media & Communications Centre

Promote Your Page Too

Follow JerusalemMedia on Twitter
News & Politics

Culture

Business & IT

Opinions

Log in to My JMCC
Email
Password
 or Sign Up
Forgot your password?Close
 My JMCC
Front Page
My Comments Photo of the Day
Calendar Hot Spot(for journalists)
Audio of the Day Video of the Day
Most Popular Historical Timeline
Noticeboard Blogs
My Tags Help Desk
  
User Info
First Name
Last Name
Username
Email
My Tags 
I am a
After signing up,you will receive
an automatically
generated password in your
email.
Close
Recover Password
Submit Your Email
 or Sign Up
Close

Monday July 9, 2012 7:03 AM (EST+7)
ANALYSIS: Between security reform and occupation in the West Bank
print Print
 Email
   Text
Skip Navigation Links
Share

DUBAI, 5 July 2012 (IRIN & JMCC) - “I have never seen such brutality in my life, except from the Israeli forces,” says Aliya,* still shocked a day after her protest march through the West Bank town of Ramallah was violently attacked by Palestinian security officers. “They just kept on beating us.”
EnlargePalestinian police in riot gear break up a protest to open Shuhada street in Hebron, February 25, 2011(ST McNeil/JMCC)


Multimedia
Al-Haq: Virtual tour of the Wall in the West Bank
Oct. 11, 2011 1:20 PM (EST+7)
al-Jazeera Int: Wall's new route returns land to Bilin
Feb. 14, 2010 2:17 PM (EST+7)
Riz Khan with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters
March 8, 2011 2:08 PM (EST+7)
Documents
A Wall on the Green Line?
Accountability Denied: The Absence of Investigation and Punishment of Torture in Israel
Arab Initiative, 2002
Publications
Poll No. 14, March 1996 - On Attitudes of East Jerusalemites on the Recent Hamas Bombings
Poll No. 17, October 1996 - On Palestinian Attitudes Towards Current Issues
Poll No. 24, December 1997 - On Palestinian and Israeli Attitudes Towards the Peace Process
Background
Bilin
Checkpoints
Closure
Resources
"Frequently asked questions on the anti terrorism fence" Israel ministry of foreign affairs, April 2009
"The West Bank Barrier" OCHA, April 2009
“Percentage of Israelis in Military Drops,” AP, August 2007


Aliya was one of a few hundred young people who had marched on Sunday 1 July to protest against police brutality which had broken up an earlier demonstration.

As the protesters started to call for the resignation of Abdul Latif al-Qadumi, the head of the Ramallah police force, the reaction of the police grew more violent. “No to Dayton’s police! Stop the coordination!” was one of the protesters’ cries.

Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the former US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, ended his term overseeing US assistance in restructuring Palestinian security forces in 2010, but his legacy - newly trained and equipped Palestinian police and intelligence forces - remains. Others have also helped reform the Palestinian police: the European Union’s Police Advisory Mission EUPOL COPPS (EU Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support) and more than 17 different states.

Created in 2005 as part of the roadmap agreement, donors agreed to provide assistance to the Palestinian Authority to re-establish functioning security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, assistance from the US security and the EUPOL COPPS mission has been limited to the West Bank. The mandate of these missions is to reform the six different, often competing, Palestinian security services - a legacy of Arafat’s divide and rule days - and train and equip them so that they can keep order.

Most of the Palestinian security forces were only officially established during the years of the Oslo II Agreement of 1995 together with the new Palestinian Authority. But after the Palestinian uprising in 2000, Israeli forces destroyed their infrastructure and operational capacities. Lawlessness and the rule of armed gangs - many of them connected to armed party militias - were the result.

SECURITY WITH A TWIST

Today the situation in most of Area A - the 17.5 percent of land controlled by PA forces in the West Bank - is different. Palestinian security forces patrol the streets while militiamen with guns are only seen on posters celebrating killed “martyrs”.

A 2010 UN Development Programme survey in the area showed that 52 percent of respondents felt the security services ensured a safe environment. But this new security comes with a twist: the police and intelligence services are also protecting the security of Israel.

Coordination with Israeli security services is a pillar of the reforms. Forces are trained and equipped to react to the demand of Israeli agencies in quelling armed groups.

Many Palestinians and external experts say the developments inside the PA and its security services are worrying. “For sure,” one international security expert based in Ramallah and who preferred anonymity told IRIN, “what we have here is nothing compared to the situation in Egypt or Syria, but there are strong authoritarian tendencies within both the PA and the security services.”

This view is reflected in a recent poll among 1,200 Palestinians. Only 29 percent of respondents in the West Bank felt they could criticize their government without fear.

For now, most of the repression has been directed against political opponents and their armed militias: Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and even president Abbas’s Fatah party armed group, the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades.

The recent demonstration in Ramallah, however, is an indication that things could be changing. The protesters were young Palestinians, many of them sons and daughters of Ramallah’s elite. The expert interviewed said it was no secret that both equipment and training for anti-riot operations comes from EUPOL COPPS and bilateral donors.

SUPPORT ROLE

“EUPOL COPPS supports the Palestinian Special Police Forces (SPF) in matters of specialized equipment and training. The SPF has several duties among the Palestinian Civil Police and crowd control management is one of these… The SPF has covered hundreds of public order events without any problems and that happened in full respect of human rights and police ethics standards,” EUPOL COPPS told IRIN.

According to Aliya, the specialized SPF only arrived late on the scene of the demonstration; it was plain clothes security officers and uniformed members of the Palestinian Civil Police who attacked the protesters.

A spokesperson for EUPOL COPPS provided information to IRIN showing that the mission is investing heavily in programs designed to secure greater accountability from the police and mainstream human rights in all its work.

Shirin Abu-Fannouna, who works for the Palestinian human rights organization al-Haq, told IRIN there was a trend among security forces to target political dissenters protesting against the PA.

Providing advice to the security sector under such circumstances is difficult. While EUPOL COPPS has been upgraded with a rule of law component in recent years, most donors have a hard time monitoring that their equipment and training are not used to oppress legitimate protest.

Officially the six PA security services employ a total of 29,500 people in the West Bank. But the PA also continues to pay the salaries of 36,500 security personnel who have been inactive since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007. In such a context security sector reform, rather than just being technical assistance, becomes a highly “political exercise” as the International Crisis Group noted in a 2010 report. This is especially the case as legal oversight over the different services is weak. The Palestinian parliament has been inactive since 2007 and President Abbas rules by decree.

JOBS PROVIDED

The security services provide one of the few job opportunities for Palestinian men without higher education, and political leverage can be obtained by determining who gets such a job in the bleak economic situation in the West Bank. Political affiliations still play a major role, and most of the security services are staffed with members of Abbas’s Fateh movement.

But “identities are shifting”, said the security expert. “It is no longer just a Fateh militia that acts against political opponents. They are willing to act against other Fateh members as well, if needed. We have a strange mixture now, where the security services have become much more professional and technocratic, but where self-interest plays a much larger role.”

The rationale for the Palestinian leadership’s reform of the security services was two-fold: first to regain control over the different feuding militias, and second, to take any security argument away from the Israeli government that could have been used to postpone peace negotiations.

However, as the Palestinian leadership comes to realize that the international community is not able to deliver on the peace negotiations, keeping the current situation stable seems to be the PA’s strategy.

"The big question is, what impact can security sector reform have under such circumstances? How sustainable can it be?” asked the security expert.

*not her real name

kb/cb/oa



Log in Login to be able to add comment Add comment  Rules ( 0 )





Palestinian police in riot gear break up a protest to open Shuhada street in Hebron, February 25, 2011(ST McNeil/JMCC)



Skip Navigation Links
About JMCC
Press Services
Dailies & SMS
Polls
Publications

 




Submit News
Message
Email Address
Upload File






Skip Navigation Links
Make JMCC your homepage   |  
RSS   |  
Write for us   |  
FAQ: Comments & Moderation   |  
FAQ: Population Data   |  
Contact Us   |