The American administration has recently sent arms supplies to the Palestinian Authority (PA), including armoured vehicles, batons and teargas canisters in order to boost the ability of its security services in their crackdown on the Palestinian Resistance across the Occupied West Bank cities.
Senior sources from the PA confirmed the reports to Jerusalem-based Palestinian newspaper, Al Quds, pointing out that the bargain was facilitated by Jordan and approved by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. The PA official said that the arms would be used to fight “terrorism”.
Netanyahu remained silent following these reports but, according to Reuters, he “was forced to deny” the reports after far-right ministers in his coalition expressed outrage. Haaretz reported Netanyahu calling the reports about the arms shipment “fake news”. Haaretz also reported that the Biden administration had denied sending weapons or ammunition to the PA security forces.
However, Israeli Army Radio reported that the US supplied 1,500 assault rifles to the PA security services in the Occupied West Bank after the Israeli occupation government had approved the deal on condition the be used against the Palestinian fighters from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
It seems that the PA has likely received the arms shipment, but such supplies help us recognise the real disputed identity of the PA, which calls itself a national Palestinian body that governs the Palestinians, protects them and their interests in the Occupied Territories, but other do not give it the same definition.
The role of the Palestinian Authority is to achieve the Palestinian national project of freedom, independence, and protection of the Palestinian people
Hussein Al Sheikh, Civil Affairs Minister for the PA, said in June, stressing:
The PA has not and will not accept anything other than this national and historical role
In order to know what the PA exactly is, we have to know what do those who agreed on creating it say about it, and what does it do with the Palestinians.
Let us read what Netanyahu said during a meeting for one of the Knesset committees in June.
We need the Palestinian Authority. We cannot allow it to collapse. We also do not want it to collapse. We are ready to help it financially. We have an interest in the PA continuing to work. Where it succeeds in operating, it does the job for us. We have no interest in it falling
“We are preparing for the period after Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas],” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel “need[s] the Palestinian Authority. We must not allow it to collapse.”
From time to time, Netanyahu and other Israeli officials remind the PA about its identity and its specific duty. Netanyahu heard PA officials, like Hussein Al Sheikh, saying: “The role of the Palestinian Authority is to achieve the Palestinian national project of freedom, independence and protection of the Palestinian people.”
Responding to him, Netanyahu said that Israel must “crush” Palestinian state ambition. So that, if the PA deviates from its pre-planned duty, Netanyahu is reminding it about its main role – crushing the Palestinian Resistance and helping Israel carrying out its mission in the Occupied Territories.
Due to repeating their lies that the PA is a national body that works for achieving the national ambitions of the Palestinians, the PA officials might, at some point, feel they are national heroes. “Israel sees the PA and its President, Mahmoud Abbas, as crucial partners in combating West Bank terrorism,” The Media Line, an Israeli news website, has said.
Recently, PA officials, who understand their role, have complained of the increasing Israeli raids into the Occupied West Bank cities stating that this is not Israel’s job, but theirs. Those officials asked Israel to stop its raids so that they can do their job properly.
In an apparent shift, Israel has recently scaled back these raids to allow the PA to reassert its control
The Media Line said, adding: “PA security forces face considerable challenges … Nevertheless, Abbas has ordered his forces to crack down on terror cells ‘with an iron fist’.”
The latest arms shipment shows how much the Israeli Occupation sees the PA as an instrument. We see Netanyahu challenge key partners in his coalition in order to boost the PA in order to do its job on behalf of the occupation state properly. He has been vulnerable to harsh criticism from them to the degree that he was obliged to deny allowing the arms shipment.
A statement by the US State Department explained the identity and the agenda of the PA.
We reiterate our continued commitment to cooperating with the Palestinian Authority, in coordination with the Government of Israel, to improve the security situation in the West Bank
the statement said. Improving the security situation in the West Bank means cracking down on Palestinian Resistance.
The US supports the PA, in coordination with the Israeli occupation, in order to crack down on the Palestinian Resistance. This proves that denying the transfer of the arms shipment to the PA by Netanyahu and the Biden administration does not mean disregard for the PA, but aimed at calming down criticism from the far-right Israeli ministers, MKs and to suppress an army of journalists and media outlets.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.