News and analysis from Palestine, Israel and beyond.

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces don’t protect Palestinians

Alaa Tartir from Al-Shabaka has a new policy brief on how the Palestinian Authority’s security forces are subcontractors for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank:

Security collaboration between Israel and the PA has fulfilled the Oslo Accords’ objectives of institutionalizing security arrangements and launching a peace process that is tightly controlled by the security sector in order to enable Israel to fulfil its colonial ambitions while claiming to be pursuing peace. This process of “securitized peace” is manifested in a number of ways, including the PA security forces’ arrest of Palestinian suspects wanted by Israel (as in the recent case of Basil Al-‘Araj who was arrested and released by the PA only to be chased and eventually assassinated by the Israelis); the suppression of Palestinian protests against Israeli soldiers and/or settlers; intelligence sharing between the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the PA security forces; a revolving door between Israeli and PA jails through which Palestinian activists cycle for the same offenses; and regular joint Israeli-Palestinian meetings, workshops, and trainings.

Not surprisingly, they aren’t very popular:

Multiple surveys over the years have shown that the majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (between 60% and 80%) oppose security coordination with Israel. And in a March 2017 Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey poll, two-thirds of respondents demanded Abbas’s resignation, with 73% expressing the belief that Abbas is not serious in his threat to suspend security coordination with Israel. In a 2010 Maan News Agency poll, 78% of respondents said they believe that the PA security forces are engaged in surveillance, monitoring activities, and intervening in people’s privacy. Finally, according to Visualizing Palestine, 67% of West Bank Palestinians said they feel that they are living in an undemocratic system that cracks down on freedoms in large part as a result of the security realm.

Read the rest of Al-Shabaka’s brief to see Alaa’s suggestions for how the Palestinian security forces could be reformed to be more responsive to the needs and concerns of ordinary Palestinians.