The administration of President Barack Obama intends to move away from
equipping PA security forces. Instead, the State Department, amid increasing
criticism from Congress, plans to ensure that the PA reaches
self-sufficiency in training and development.
"This year, we will transition the program into the next phase of our
campaign plan — building institutional capacity," U.S. security coordinator
Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller said. "This new phase is less resource intensive as
we move away from primarily providing the Palestinian security forces with
equipment and infrastructure toward an increasingly direct advise and assist
In testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle
East and South Asia, Moeller, who heads a 150-member mission in the West
Bank, said the United States would seek to sustain the achievements of PA
security forces over the last three years. He said Washington would also try
to integrate the law enforcement community with an improved judiciary.
"In this phase, we will help the PASF [PA security forces] develop
indigenous readiness, training, and logistics programs and the capability to
maintain/sustain their force structure readiness and infrastructure,"
Moeller said on July 12. "Additionally, the USSC will continue to support
other U.S. rule of law programs that assist the Palestinians to improve the
performance of the justice and corrections sectors."
Officials said Washington, which has drafted a $400 million aid program
for 2012, still intended to expand PA security forces. They
cited plans to train and equip 10 battalions of the PA's National Security
Forces, deemed the chief paramilitary force in the West Bank.
The U.S. training program has been conducted through the security
coordinator's office as well as the State Department's International
Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Department. So far, 3,700 members of
NSF as well as 1,000 Presidential Guards were trained at the
U.S.-sponsored International Police Training Center near Amman, Jordan.
The program, which began in 2007, has cost $545 million. In July, Israel
approved sending another 500 NSF troops for training in Jordan.
"The USSC and INL reportedly plan to help organize and train a total of
approximately 6,000 troops, including 10 500-man NSF battalions —
approximately seven of which have already been trained or begun training,"
the Congressional Research Service said.
Officials said the main goals of the U.S. program was for the PA to
counter the Islamic opposition, particularly Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Another goal was to establish the rule of law in any Palestinian state,
which the State Department expects to be formed in 2013.
"The USSC/INL security assistance program exists alongside other
assistance and training programs reportedly provided to Palestinian security
forces and intelligence organizations by the
European Union and various countries, including probable covert U.S.
assistance programs," CRS said in a report titled "U.S. Foreign Aid to the
Palestinians." "By most accounts, the PA forces receiving training have
shown increased professionalism and have helped substantially improve law
and order and lower the profile of terrorist organizations in West Bank
Several House subcommittee members have threatened to vote against any
U.S. funding to the PA if Hamas was brought into the Ramallah-based
government. They said Congress would not participate in any effort to help a
Palestinian government influenced by Hamas.
"We can't be a party to providing dollars to terrorist organizations and
to organizations who commit themselves to the destruction of the state of
Israel," Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a California Republican, said. "I won't vote
for it, and I will work with the chair and others to lead the charge against
it, if they continue along this path."