The sources said PA security units, despite increased coordination, were
interfering with Israel Army operations, particularly in the northern West
Bank. They said the Palestinian officers were testing the limits of their
freedom of movement and operations against Israel.
"They are not yet looking for a fight, but they are looking to expand
their authority beyond what has been," the source said. "When we act
forcefully, they back down, but we usually try to calm things down."
The sources said the friction has been greatest with the U.S.-trained
National Security Forces. So far, Washington has financed the training of
six NSF battalions in Jordan and plans to send another four battalions over
the next year.
"They come back from Jordan very confident in their skills and eager to
use them against us," another military source said.
The sources said Central Command has also concluded that PA security
forces could play a major role in plans for massive unrest in the West Bank.
They said the ruling Fatah movement, backed by PA leaders, appeared to be
encouraging an Egyptian-style revolution based on rapid mobilization of
protesters through Facebook and Twitter.
"This has been a leading topic of discussion in briefings over the last
month," a source said.
The sources said PA security forces were believed to be recruiting
civilians to attack Israel Army units. Over the last two months, they said,
Palestinians, following the accidental Army shooting of a farmer, have been
attacking a checkpoint in the Jordan Valley.
One of the attackers was identified as a PA police officer from Jenin.
The officer, said to have been a member of the Iranian-sponsored Islamic
Jihad, rammed into an Israeli officer in the northern West Bank.
On March 8, Israeli police stopped a Palestinian pedestrian at a
checkpoint near Nablus and found five pipe bombs and three firebombs in his
bag. Officials said the weapons appeared to have been prepared for
insurgents in the northern West Bank.
"The tension is seething," a senior Israeli military officer said.