In the last series of arrests made by the Palestinian Authority, it was revealed by intelligence and security services leader, Adnan Al-Damiri, that scores of people were arrested for possessing “unlawful” weapons in the West Bank. Al-Damiri clarified that Palestinian security forces acted upon orders given by the Palestinian president and prime minister and subsequently its surveillance activities in the Nablus and Jenin districts of the West Bank in particular. The increase in security was done for the sake of “tracking down those acting outside the framework of the law”; however, the security sector refused to refer to its increased measures as a “security campaign”. Instead, officials have insisted that they are merely ensuring the enforcement of security and order.
It was also made clear that the security sector has created a joint operations room for all of the various factions of the security enterprise and that it has begun to retaliate with an iron fist (against our people first and foremost). There are a certain set of goals that must me reached, the most important of them being: bringing an end to the emergence of illegal weapons for good and implementing and enforcing order and the law in a way that protects the current government.
This coincided with an announcement made by the Israeli army in which it stated that it carried out the arrest of a group of “weapons manufacturers” in the village of Uarif, south of Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank. The arrests were the result of a joint operation with Shin Bet.
The army said that it found the location of four sources where weapon lathes were being stored and used to reproduce local variations of M16s.
It should be known that there is one security worker for every 52 Palestinian residents whereas there is only one teacher for every 72 Palestinians. Moreover, the PA has subsequently created 10 different security apparatuses and, by the end of the last decade, former President Arafat had created two additional organisations. More than 70,000 individuals work in the security sector using 37 per cent of public resources.
On the other hand, Palestinian human rights organisations have received 3,409 complaints regarding torture and threats that they are facing from the government. In December of 2015 alone, 82 individuals were subject to torture and maltreatment upon arrest during the campaign. As for security cooperation with the Israeli forces, there are three major points: side-line discussions between the PA and Israel (which ended with the outbreak of the third intifada), the formation of a joint Security Council and cooperation with regards to questions of security.
What I am trying to say can be summarised as follows: the main objective of the security apparatus is simply to monitor, to spy on and to arrest Palestinians living within the 1967 Palestinian territories. What should be happening is that the PA, which is under the control of the Israeli occupation, should work to support the Palestinian people and alleviate the suffering that they experience under the Israeli occupation rather than further oppress their freedoms and their political will. The complete opposite of this is what is happening and the PA instead is yet another burden that must be faced by our people. Is this reality what America and Israel want? The Oslo Accords require for there to be complete and total security coordination between the PA and Israel and this is the main reason why the PA cannot deviate from this shameful reality and work towards finding ways to distance itself from the occupying power (Israel). For this reason, it is impossible that Israel would allow for a threat to be carried out against its main ally, the US, as was the case with the emergence of the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
Another point that must be highlighted; approximately half of the PA’s budget goes towards ensuring the continuation of security coordination with Israel, which continues to increase like a fungus and affect the Palestinian people in their entirety. Can this be possible? The truth of the matter is that this authority is not an authority and instead functions as Israel wants, as an extension of the Israeli occupation and its intelligence. The PA functions as a spy on the behalf of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories. It does not possess any sovereignty. Israel wants the PA to ensure its safety and to prevent any operation against it.
The truth of the matter is that the PA has initiated and continued to implement the above-mentioned policies. The proof is in Al-Damiri’s statements and in President Mahmoud Abbas’ constant remarks on the dangers of illegal weapons in the hands of the Palestinians! I beg you to recognise that the PA will not be embarrassed to do as it pleases.
Translated from Al-Sharq Portal, 14 July 2016.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.