Report: Palestinian security forces fueled corruption chaos

Special to

WASHINGTON — Palestinian Authority security forces have contributed
to the growing chaos in the West Bank, a report said.

The Gatestone Institute asserted that Western-trained and -equipped PA
security forces have been engaged in corruption and extortion throughout the
West Bank. In a report by Israeli analyst Khaled Abu Toameh, the institute
said the lawlessness has threatened the regime of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian Authority security forces officers on patrol in the West Bank city of Jenin. /Vince Beiser/Pacific Standard

“In most cases, it is the Palestinian Authority’s security forces that
are responsible for the chaos and corruption,” the report, titled “How
Journalists Allowed the Palestinian Authority to Fool Them,” said.

The report cited the death of PA Gov. Khaddoura Mussa on
May 2 in Jenin. The death of Mussa, said to have been caused by an
assassination attempt, sparked a PA crackdown on security officers and Fatah gunmen in the northern West Bank.

“For the Palestinian Authority leadership, the assassination attempt was what lifted the veil,” the report, dated May 9, said. “Palestinian leaders in Ramallah realized that they could no longer continue to hide the truth about what was really happening in Jenin.”

Abu Toameh, who covers Palestinian affairs for The Jerusalem Post, said PA forces have arrested dozens of police officers and Fatah gunmen. The detainees were accused of such crimes as murder, extortion, abduction, sexual harassment and robbery.

“Palestinians say that anarchy and lawlessness are to be found also in
other areas in the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority claims to have
imposed law and order,” the report said.

Those arrested were said to have included officers trained and paid by
the European Union and United States. Jenin contains a battalion of the
U.S.-trained National Security Forces, meant to serve as a paramilitary
force similar to the U.S. National Guard.

On May 9, Abbas convened the commanders of PA security forces in
Ramallah. A PA statement said Abbas was briefed on the security situation in
the West Bank and efforts to enhance law enforcement.

The report said the PA has threatened journalists who sought to
investigate corruption. Abu Toameh cited an unidentified Western journalist
who investigated the killing of Israeli Arab film producer Julian Mar-Khamis
in 2011 in Jenin. Nobody has been charged with the killing, believed linked
to PA security officers and Fatah gunmen.

“If the Western journalists and donors continue to ignore the reality on
the ground, the West Bank could soon fall into the hands of gangsters and
armed clans, as has been the case in Jenin — among the main reasons the
Palestinian Authority collapsed in the Gaza Strip in 2007, speeding the rise
of Hamas to power,” the report said.

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