Cooperation between Israel and Palestinian Authority draws criticism

"Palestinian militant with rifle" by atphalix

“Palestinian militant with rifle” by atphalix

Tel Aviv, Israel (nsnbc) – The Palestinian Authority (PA) deployed PA-police officers to the three Jerusalem suburbs Abu Dis, Bidu and Al-Ram. The deployment follows a decision by an Israeli court to give the green light for the development of a Palestinian housing project in the Al-Sawahra area of East Jerusalem. The PA-officers deployment is coordinated with Israel under the umbrella of the much criticized security cooperation between Israel and the PA.

In early April an Israeli court gave the green light for first Israeli approved major housing development project in the Al-Sawahra area of East Jerusalem that Israeli military captured from Jordan during the 1967 war. The project includes the development of 2,200 Palestinian homes.

Palestinian Authority Police spokesperson Louay Erzikat told the press that the Palestinian Authority deployed police officers to Abu Dis, Bidu and Al-Ram where new police stations have been opened.

The deployment shall remedy the previous under-deployment of PA police in sector A areas, especially in Jerusalem suburbs.

Erzikat added that the PA police is cooperating with Israeli military and police under the umbrella of the security cooperation that the PLO and Israel agreed on within the framework of the Oslo Accords.

Sector A includes major Palestinian West Bank cities and is supposed to be policed by the Palestinian Authority.PA police will furthermore increase its presence in the so-called sector B, surrounding Jerusalem. The Oslo II Accords of 1993 stipulate the division of Palestinian territories into three sectors.Sector B is under the Palestinian Authorities’ civilian administration while Israeli police and military are policing (occupying) these areas.The majority of the so-called sector C includes illegal Israeli West Bank “settlements”, settler only roads, and so forth.

In December 2014 the PA tabled a Jordanian-sponsored draft resolution that called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories within the 1967 borders by 2017. After the Security Council failed to adopt the resolution, PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed over 20 international treaties including the Rome Statute. April 1, 2015 Palestine became a member to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Israel responded by withholding tax revenues which it collects on behalf of the PA because it described Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute as unilateral action in breach with the Oslo Accords.

Mahmoud Abbas responded by threatening to end the PA’s security cooperation with the Israeli military and police  – without ever following up on his words. In 2014 Abbas described the PA – Israeli security cooperation as “sacred”.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has repeatedly been accused of abusing the security cooperation with Israel for  targeting inconvenient political activists, leading members of other PLO-member fractions such as PFLP Secretary-General AhmadSa’adat, or progressive Fatah members such as Marwan Barghouti who is widely considered as the architect of the first Palestinian intefadah / uprising.

Palestinian activist organizations repeatedly stressed that an arrest and release by the PA’s police is suspiciously often followed-up by a re-arrest by Israeli military or police. The outcome is often intimidation or arbitrary administrative detention.

The housing development projects are widely considered as a positive development, so is the increased presence of Palestinian police officers in Palestinian territories.

The proving stone for the Fatah-dominated PA and PLO will be whether it uses its police in the interest of“all Palestinians” or in the interest of maintaining Fatah’s primacy and the status quo with Israel.

Author: Christof Lehmann

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