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Is it security coordination or integration?

Who would have thought that the head of Israel's internal security service, Yuval Diskin, would ever spend an entire day visiting the Palestinian Authority's security headquarters in Jenin? The head of Shin Bet enjoyed the hospitality of senior officers and staff as a guest of honour, but these days we should not be too surprised by anything that the PA does.

It is well known that there is a high degree of coordination between Israel's security services and their Palestinian counterparts in the West Bank – the still very much occupied West Bank don't forget – and we also know that the Palestinian Authority is a creation of the Israeli occupation. Nevertheless, developing security coordination, in itself unforgiveable given the nature of the occupation, into full integration between the security services is almost impossible to comprehend.

The current situation begs us to ask what the position of the so-called "Palestinian national liberation movement" – Fatah to the rest of the world   is on this issue. Does the movement acknowledge and accept such coordination in general and this particular visit in particular when the PA security services are supposed to belong to the "liberation movement"? A visit made, remember, by the head of a branch of Israeli security responsible for arresting thousands of active Fatah members and subjecting them to psychological and physical torture; and also responsible for providing protection to the illegal settlers who control Palestinian land, water and air and abuse, on a regular basis, ordinary Palestinians, the latest case of which abuse saw a Palestinian crushed to death.

We are entitled to ask if the Palestinian security forces are answerable to the Central Committee of Fatah and, if so, whether or not the Committee was told in advance about Diskin's visit. In addition, exactly what is the extent and scale of the security cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority?

Some may argue that the Oslo Accords provided for such security coordination, which is true. But they also provided for the complete withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within five years. Why is it only the security – Israel's security – aspect of Oslo which is of paramount importance while those terms of the Accords binding on Israel are quietly ignored or dropped altogether?

Naturally, we do not expect any answers to these questions from the Palestinian Authority; equally, we are certain that the overwhelming majority of Fatah members will be asking the same questions, for they are angry that the PA honours people like Yuval Diskin   with Palestinian blood on his hands – in their name and the name of their movement which carried the Palestinian struggle for more than forty years, losing thousands of martyrs in the process.

Diskin's visit to Jenin in particular resonates badly with Palestinians, given that it was a centre of the resistance to the Israeli occupation. There is now a huge question mark over the loyalty of the security forces in question; are they working for the benefit of the Palestinians or the Israelis? It must be unique for a liberation movement to be turned into a tool of the occupation authorities, but that is what has happened.

It is even more ironic that the news of Diskin's visit was made public via the Israeli media, without which we would still be in the dark about the extent of the Palestinian Authority's cooperation and, it has to be said, integration with the Israeli occupation forces. The PA hides such information from the people it is supposed to serve so it is more than feasible that this visit is, in fact, just the tip of the iceberg, and that many more serious things have been done in their name which are actually against the interests of the Palestinian people. Let's hear it for the ever-fading mirage of peace with justice.

Source: Opinion Al Quds Al Arbi

Commentary & AnalysisIsraelMiddle EastPalestine
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