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Wednesday, June 29, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: U.S. has trained 5,000 Palestinians
for security forces

WASHINGTON — The United States has provided security training to nearly 5,000 Palestinian cadets since 2008, a report said.


The Congressional Research Service said Washington has financed and overseen the training of nearly 5,000 members of the Palestinian Authority security forces over the last three years under the regime of chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The report, titled "U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians," said most of the Palestinian cadets came from the PA's National Security Forces, Middle East Newsline reported.

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"Aid has been given to train, reform, advise, house, and provide non-lethal equipment for PA civil security forces in the West Bank loyal to President Abbas in an effort both to counter militants from organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and to establish the rule of law for an expected Palestinian state," the report, authored by analyst Jim Zanotti, said. "A small amount of training assistance also has been provided to strengthen and reform the PA criminal justice sector."

Dated May 31, the congressional report said the United States, under the administrations of President George Bush and President Barack Obama, has trained 3,700 members of the National Security Forces in Jordan. The NSF cadets were said to have undergone a 19-week course in anti-riot and counter-insurgency skills.

Washington, in cooperation with such allies as Britain, Canada and Turkey, has also financed the training of 1,000 officers from the Presidential Guard, under Abbas' direct command. The report said the training took place at the International Police Training Center near Amman, Jordan.

The training programs for the PA have been overseen by U.S. Security Coordinator Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, a three-star general with staff from Britain, Canada and Turkey. Moeller has been working with the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

"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 report said.

The United States was also said to have provided PA security forces with other assistance, including intelligence skills. The report said the U.S. training has helped improve law and order and lower the profile of insurgency groups in the West Bank.

"However, the aspiration to coordinate international security assistance efforts and to consolidate the various PA security forces under unified civilian control that is accountable to rule of law and to human rights norms remains largely unfulfilled. PA forces have come under criticism for the political targeting of Hamas — in collaboration with Israel and the United States — through massive shutdowns and forced leadership changes to West Bank charities with alleged ties to Hamas members and through reportedly arbitrary detentions of Hamas members and supporters," the report said.

CRS did not rule out the prospect that the reconciliation agreement between the ruling Fatah movement and Hamas would affect PA security forces. One scenario was that Fatah-Hamas reconciliation would spark unrest against Israel.

"How the May 2011 Fatah-Hamas power-sharing agreement may affect the activities of PA security forces in the West Bank is unclear, although it is possible that these activities will remain largely unchanged until either PA presidential and legislative elections can be held or Fatah and Hamas can agree on security coordination for both the West Bank and Gaza," the report said. "Current appropriations legislation prohibits the United States from providing financial assistance to Hamas under any conditions."

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