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US, Israel looking to save security coordination with PA

January 31, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Palestinian security forces take measures during a demonstration in support of Gaza at Al-Manara Square in Ramallah, West Bank on 14 June 2018 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

The US and Israel are scurrying to find a way to maintain security cooperation with the Palestinian Authorities (PA) following its refusal to accept American financial assistance. Ramallah rejected Washington’s annual $60 million security aid due to concerns over a recent act that would enable US citizens to sue foreign countries alleged complicit in “acts of war”.

The aid money is expected to dry up today, bringing to an end a steady stream of aid which critics say has enabled the PA to clampdown on Palestinian resistance to Israel’s brutal occupation.

Diplomatic sources, according to Reuters, said Israel, US and Palestinian officials are now seeking a way to keep the money flowing.

“The US administration was surprised by the Palestinian decision, and said it wanted to find a solution in order to continue aid to the Palestinian security services,” one Palestinian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Such a solution may include finding alternative funds within the CIA budget or amending US legislation, he said.

READ: Is Palestine-Israel security coordination coming to an end?

Israeli officials are said to have declined to confirm or deny there were workaround talks, but sought to offer reassurance that Israel could manage security in the West Bank, without Palestinian help.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Reshet Channel 13 TV when asked about the cut in US funding said: “The most we can do is say to them, ‘since this is our land, if you cannot govern, then we can.’”

Security cooperation between the PA and Israel is one of the most controversial aspects of the Oslo Accords. Critics often point out that it serves the interest of Israel; the occupying power at the expense of Palestinian right to oppose violation of their human rights.

The importance of the security arrangement was further highlighted following swathes of US funding cuts to the PA over the past year. Even when the Trump administration cut off the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA of all funds, and scrapped the $200 million in humanitarian aid to the PA, the US still released $61 million to the PA to maintain its “security cooperation” with Israel.

The US believes that the PA’s decision to reject all future funding could leave its security forces severely curtailed and unable to administer the occupied West Bank, which has seen flare-ups of violence in recent weeks.