‘NYT’ runs op-ed by Israel lobbyist in human rights garb, saying Palestinians are too corrupt to deserve a state

on 19 Comments

Yesterday’s Global edition of the NY Times had an op-ed by one David Keyes from the organization, Advancing Human Rights. Keyes informs us of the anti-democratic tendencies and outright corruption of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas. He talks of detentions, arrests, convictions and jail sentences for those who have dared to criticize or insult Abbas.

No doubt Palestinians have many legitimate complaints against their leadership. But is it appropriate for the Times to have Keyes complain on their behalf? Needless to say, if Keyes were truly concerned with the welfare of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, he would be a prominent opponent of the Israeli occupation far more than Palestinian repression and corruption.

But the op-ed doesn’t mention the occupation. Instead, Keyes reveals his own agenda, and it is more about protecting Israel than Palestinians:

A good indicator of how committed a government is to upholding peace with its neighbors is its commitment to protecting the human rights of its own citizens. Nations that disregard the freedoms of their own people are not likely to care much about maintaining peace with their historic enemies. Palestinian human rights, in other words, are key to the peace process.

This is just a variation of the “no partner for peace” mantra. If the Palestinian leaders can’t respect civil rights in their own society, Keyes asks, how can Israel hope to make peace with them?

Then Keyes takes a swipe at Palestinian reconciliation:

Rather than repudiating such genocidal rhetoric [allegedly made by a Hamas official], when an Al Jazeera interviewer asked Mr. Abbas last year if there were political and ideological differences between his party, Fatah, and Hamas, he replied, “In all honesty, there are no disagreements between us.” But there should be enormous — indeed unbridgeable — gaps between any potential peace partner and a terrorist organization that acts tyrannically and calls for the annihilation of a people.

Keyes closes by urging ”the West” to “stand firmly with Palestinian democrats” by “linking Western economic aid to the Palestinian Authority’s respect for free speech.” His recipe for relieving oppression of ordinary Palestinians is to starve the Palestinian economy.

And who is this David Keyes who presumes to speak on behalf of beleaguered Palestinians? He’s the Executive Director of Advancing Human Rights, a relatively new organization started by Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein. Bernstein abandoned HRW because of its criticism of Israel, which he could no longer tolerate. The problem apparently was that HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Division (MENA) was devoting a full 28% of its attention to Israel/Palestine. Shocking! The work done by HRW’s other divisions – Africa, Asia, The Americas, the U.S., and Europe/Central Asia – and the other 72% of MENA was not enough to make up for this unfair “singling out” of Israel. So Bernstein started AHR, apparently deciding against the more accurate but cumbersome title “Advancing Human Rights For All Except Palestinians”. And it’s a good thing, because AHR’s present executive director has found a way to feign concern for Palestinians while absolving Israel of any blame.

AHR has assembled an interesting collection of board members, including Irwin Cotler, the fanatical pro-Israel Canadian MP known for howling about the “dangers of a genocidal and nuclear Iran”; Britain’s retired Colonel Richard Kemp, most known for declaring that “during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare,” a quote that Alan Dershowitz never tires of repeating. Then there is Keyes himself, who was the Coordinator of Democracy Programs under Natan Sharanksy at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies funded by guess who and was located at the right-wing Shalem Center in Jerusalem. Keyes also was the founder of CyberDissidents.org, an organization apparently devoted to the human rights of all Arab dissidents, with the exception of Palestinians whose human rights have been denied by Israel. Who else is on the AHR Board? Toni Morrison, yes the same Morrison who co-signed a 2006 letter along with Chomsky, Pinter, Saramago, Arundhati Roy, Vidal, Zinn, Naomi Klein, Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s List) and others that condemned Israel’s “long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.” Go figure.

Keyes’s efforts on behalf of Palestinian dissidents oppressed by fellow Palestinians is reminiscent of similar pronouncements by the likes of Michael Oren, who bemoan the plight of Christian Palestinians at the hands of Muslims only. These impostors pretend to care about Palestinians while actually working to undermine their freedom and sentence them to perpetual domination by a foreign military. Do Palestinians suffer from corruption, mismanagement, oppression and malfeasance of their leaders? No doubt they do, but wouldn’t it be far more enlightening to let them speak for themselves rather than enlist a pro-Israeli voice to speak on their behalf?

About David Samel

David Samel is an attorney in New York City.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

19 Responses

  1. braciole
    February 14, 2013, 9:45 am

    A good indicator of how committed a government is to upholding peace with its neighbors is its commitment to protecting the human rights of its own citizens. Nations that disregard the freedoms of their own people are not likely to care much about maintaining peace with their historic enemies.

    I quite agree. Israel has a consistent record of disregarding the freedoms of its own (non-Jewish) people and has a lousy record of upholding peace with its neighbours. Perhaps it’s the Palestinians who don’t have a “partner for peace” and the Israelis who shouldn’t be allowed a country.

    • sydnestel
      February 14, 2013, 6:14 pm

      “A good indicator of how committed a government is to upholding peace with its neighbors is its commitment to protecting the human rights of its own citizens. Nations that disregard the freedoms of their own people are not likely to care much about maintaining peace with their historic enemies.”

      What nonsense. Iran – under both the Shaw and the Ayatollahs was and is hardly a paragon of protecting the human rights of its own citizens, but has never been involved in a war, other than the war started against it by Saddam Hussein. Other similar examples – post Soviet Russia, China (no wars since the end of the Korean war), Egypt (no wars since 1973), Saudi Arabia, …

      The U.S. – which relatively speaking does protect the human rights of its citizens – has been involved in dozens of wars – many (most?) of which it started.

  2. Scott
    February 14, 2013, 10:01 am

    Superbly researched post!

  3. pabelmont
    February 14, 2013, 10:10 am

    NYT a sicko? Shocking! (Must have run a pro-Palestine op-ed in last while or planning to).

  4. Annie Robbins
    February 14, 2013, 10:18 am

    Then Keyes takes a swipe at Palestinian reconciliation

    david, not sure if you had a chance to read ‘US Congress seeks to thwart Palestinian reconciliation — hearing WINEP testimony’ http://mondoweiss.net/2013/02/israel-arrests-lawmakers.html

    just saying, this is front and center on the lobbies agenda right now. the timing of this is not a coincidence. great report!

    • Reds
      February 14, 2013, 11:02 am

      It’s interesting before the hasbara bots used to say that the Palestinian can’t have a state because there are dividend and first needs to reconcile between hamas/fatah before they can expect Israel to agree to a Palestinian state. Than once this starts the hasbara bots switch clicks to Fatah must never reconcile with hamas and if it does the Palestinian can’t have a state because hamas is a terrorist group. Than when such fails the hasbara bots than go back to saying Fatah and Hamas must reconcile first.

      Rise, Repeat.

    • David Samel
      February 14, 2013, 11:13 am

      yes I did Annie. It’s always something. How can Israelis negotiate when the Palestinian leadership is divided, or when Iran poses an existential threat, or when Palestinian leadership is moving toward reconciliation, or when the country is mourning over the loss of a favorite Downton Abbey character? Now we have the double whammy of Palestinian reconciliation and denial of human rights to their own people. No wonder Avigdor says there will be no peace for decades. The next four excuses are nearing the end of the planning stage, and new ones are going into production as we speak.

  5. mondonut
    February 14, 2013, 10:38 am

    Ah yes, shoot the messenger. While not disputing a single point of the op-ed.

    • justicewillprevail
      February 14, 2013, 2:12 pm

      They are not messengers, but paid propagandists. There is not a single point in their op-ed worth the paper it is written on, because it is pure propaganda. That is the point which sailed over your little head.

  6. Reds
    February 14, 2013, 10:58 am

    Try this,


    Control F Israel

    1 match from Today back to June 2012

    ““A lot of Egyptians don’t see eye to eye with his policies, since he’s pro-normalization with Israel,” ”



    The above goes back to sept 2011

    3 matchs Quoting “Times of Israel” “Israel Hayom” nothing on Israeli Human Rights violations. So this groups and such groups like UN watch created such organizations because Israel (in there mind) was attack to much, yet over 1.5+ years there have reported zero human rights violations by Israel(according to there own news and press releases).

  7. talknic
    February 14, 2013, 12:48 pm

    In the weeks prior to [ ….. ] being declared a state, the civil war was escalated by a number of disparate [ …… ] militant and terrorist factions actively dispossessing non-[ …. ], razing non-[ …… ] homes, villages, farms in territory slated for the [ …… ] State and in territory slated for their neighbour.

    At the time [ ….. ] was declared a state, [ …… ] forces were inside and outside the territory being declared as the State of [ ….. ] , busy dispossessing non-[ …. ] , razing non-[ …… ] homes, villages, farms and many of its un-elected leaders were from disparate terrorist and militant organizations

    At the time the State of [ ….. ] was recognized and accepted into the UN, it was at war “outside of the State of [ ….. ] “ (by its own admission), dispossessing non-[ …. ] , razing non-[ …… ] homes, villages, farms. Many of its leaders at the time were from the disparate terrorist and militant organizations who had become its military

    64 years later, the State of [ ….. ] is still at war in territory outside its sovereign extent. It has yet to hold legal elections, under a constitution. It is in breach of hundreds of USNC resolutions, has committed numerous war crimes and continues to purposefully encourage its citizens to live in “territories occupied” in breach of GC IV, thereby endangering them and their children.

    In the 64 years of [ ……]’s existence, it has created so many illegal ‘facts on the ground’ and has assisted so many of its citizens to settle in territories outside the actual legal extent of its sovereignty, it can no longer afford to adhere to International Law and UN Charter without being sent bankrupt for decades paying compensation for its illegal activities while attempting to relocate hundreds of thousands of its citizens back into its own territory.

    The only way out of the illegal hole [ …… ] has created for itself, is to plea bargain with the neighbour whose territory it covets. Instead [ …… ] maintains an illusion of moral superiority, makes demands on its neighbour that have no basis in law, makes demands on the International community that are contrary to the UN Charter, attempts to justify its actions with irrelevant nonsense and continues to lie to itself, its citizens and the rest of the world.

    States constitute a sole person in the eyes of international law. As a sole person [ …… ] should be in a padded cell, in a maximum security prison for the criminally insane.

  8. lysias
    February 14, 2013, 2:45 pm

    On the first page of the Daily Beast’s listing of David Keyes’s contributions, I see nothing about Israel. I do, however, see this: Palestinian Hunger Striker Khader Adnan Is No Hero:

    Why is Khader Adnan being lauded for undertaking a hunger strike to protest his detention without a trial—when not a peep was made about his group Islamic Jihad’s terrorist murders of innocent Israelis? asks David Keyes.

    • David Samel
      February 14, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Thanks lysias, good find. Apparently Keyes has no problem with Palestinians held in administrative detention by the Israeli military without charge indefinitely. It is only when Palestinians are oppressed by their own civil judicial system that Keyes becomes concerned for their welfare. What a spokesman for Palestinian rights!

  9. seafoid
    February 14, 2013, 5:14 pm

    HRW founder Bernstein left because of differences over Israel. You could not make that up.
    Nothing could even come close. Greenpeace founder takes job with Koch bros would not be credible . But Israel is such a not

    massive Jewish blind spot innit ?And the Weiss seder table appears to me in a vision.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    February 14, 2013, 5:32 pm

    RE: “Keyes informs us of the anti-democratic tendencies and outright corruption of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas.” ~ David Samel

    MY COMMENT: But . . . but . . . but, Israel and the U.S. have consistently worked to undermine Abbas and the Palestinian Authority! ! !

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Palestinian National Authority]:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the government of Israel, as a five-year interim body. Further negotiations were then meant to take place between the two parties as regards its final status. As of 2012, more than seventeen years following the formulation of the Authority, this status has yet to be reached. . .
    . . . According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was designated to have exclusive control over both security-related and civilian issues in Palestinian urban areas (referred to as “Area A”) and only civilian control over Palestinian rural areas (“Area B”) . . .
    . . . In the Palestinian legislative elections on 25 January 2006, Hamas emerged victorious and nominated Ismail Haniyeh as the Authority’s Prime Minister. However, the national unity Palestinian government effectively collapsed when a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah erupted, mainly in the Gaza Strip. After the Gaza Strip was taken over by Hamas on 14 June 2007, the Authority’s Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government . . .
    . . . The presidential mandate of Mahmoud Abbas expired in 2009 and he is no longer recognised by Hamas, among others, as the legitimate Palestinian leader. According to Palestinian documents leaked to the Al Jazeera news organization, the United States has threatened to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority should there be a change in the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.[60] . . .
    The PA has received financial assistance from the European Union and the United States (approximately USD 1 bln. combined in 2005). All direct aid was suspended on 7 April 2006 as a result of the Hamas victory in parliamentary elections.[19][20] Shortly thereafter, aid payments resumed, but were channeled directly to the offices of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.[21] Conflict between Hamas and Fatah later in 2006 resulted in Hamas taking exclusive control over the administration of all PA institutions in the Gaza Strip. . . No Western financial assistance is given to the PA authorities in Gaza and Western governments do not recognize anyone but Abbas to be the President.
    The Gaza International Airport was built by the PA in the city of Rafah, but operated for only a brief period before being razed by Israel following the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000. A sea port was also being constructed in Gaza but was never completed (see below).
    The creation of a Palestinian police force was called for under the Oslo Accords.[15] . . . PA security forces employ some armored cars, and a limited number carry automatic weapons.[25] Some Palestinians opposed to or critical of the peace process perceive the Palestinian security forces to be little more than a proxy of the State of Israel.[15]
    . . .Since the beginning of the Second Intifada, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been undermined both in the Palestinian occupied territories (Gaza strip and West Bank) and abroad. Ariel Sharon and the George W. Bush administration refused to negotiate with Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and then president of the PA, whom they asserted formed “part of the problem” (concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) and not of its solution.[citation needed] Israel has also targeted Palestinian Authority infrastructure; in particular it has closed parts of the Palestinian sea and air ports, which Israel alleges have been used to transport terrorists and their equipment.[citation needed] Israel’s incursions during the Intifada also led to damage to some of the Palestinian computer infrastructure.[citation needed]
    These moves were criticized by the Palestinians, who claim that the Palestinian Authority is nearing collapse, and is no longer able to carry out its internal and external obligations.[citation needed] The UN countered by saying that this was “a good thing”.[citation needed] This is because these repeated degradations of PA resources and infrastructure have led to complaints by the PA and some of its European Union funders that Israel is deliberately hobbling the PA to restrict its powers of law enforcement in order to present an image of terrorism and lawlessness in the Palestinian Territories.[citation needed] . . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_National_Authority

  11. DICKERSON3870
    February 14, 2013, 5:48 pm

    RE: “He talks of detentions, arrests, convictions and jail sentences for those who have dared to criticize or insult Abbas.” ~ David Samel

    MY COMMENT: But . . . but . . . but, the Palestinian Authority’s storm troopers were trained by the U.S. and they are often accused of doing Israel’s bidding! ! !

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [United States security assistance to the Palestinian National Authority]:

    [EXCERPTS] United States security assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been provided since the Palestinian Authority was established by the Oslo Accords in the mid-1990s. The security assistance was given on an ad hoc basis and often covert at the outset. Since 2005 the U.S. State Department has provided direct financial and personnel assistance to Palestinian security organizations when they established the office of the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian territories through their Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). In 2007 the USSC team began training certain Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) including the Palestinian National Security Forces (NSF) and the Presidential Guard with the intent to train, equip, and garrison 10 NSF battalions by the end of 2010. U.S. security assistance to the Palestinian Authority has expanded over the years and has received praise as well as criticism from American, Palestinian, and Israeli groups. . .
    . . . Following the Roadmap for Peace Agreement (Roadmap) arranged by President George W. Bush’s administration, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice oversaw the creation of the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) team with the intent to assist the new PA President Mahmoud Abbas in reforming the Palestinian security sector. In March 2005, the Ward Mission was dispatched, headed by Lieutenant General (Lt. Gen.) Kip Ward, to Tel Aviv. This new agency was tasked with supervising and advising the Palestinian security sector and the USSC stated that the U.S. would regard the USSC as the only channel for international security assistance to the PA.[16] The USSC chose to conduct a needs assessment with the help of a third party American NGO, known as the Strategic Assessments Initiative. The Initiative then created the International Transition Assistance Group (ITAG) to oversee the assessment. . .
    . . . Not long after the U.S. re-established public security assistance to the PA, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton was appointed to take over the USSC mission, and in January 2006, PA parliamentary elections gave Hamas a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), which had previously been dominated by the Fatah party. Because Hamas is considered by the U.S. government to be a Foreign Terrorist Organization, it is illegal for U.S. funds to be used to support them even as part of a broader organization like the PA.[20] Though the elections were originally supported by the U.S. government, the U.S. encouraged President Abbas to retain control over the government by consolidating his power. The U.S. contributed to this by transferring money for security assistance directly to Abbas and Fatah rather than through the PA. The Presidential Guard, the security forces for protecting President Abbas, were the primary recipients of the U.S. support.[21] . . .
    . . . According to Lt. Gen. Dayton, after the election, the USSC focused on coordinating international actors to boost the Gazan economy by training PA Presidential Guard troops to oversee border crossings. In Dayton’s words: “because the Presidential Guard reported directly to President Abbas and was not influenced by Hamas, they were considered to be in the game.”[23] Dayton went on in his speech to indicate that “all other security forces suffered greatly from Hamas neglect, nonpayment of wages, and persecution, while Hamas went on to create its own security forces with lavish support from Iran and from Syria.”[23] After Abbas banned the Hamas force, and there were a number of violent incidents between Fatah and Hamas and many assassinations on both sides for month. To avoid civil war, the parties agreed, in what became known as the Mecca agreement, to form a unity government, but this unity government was not approved by the international community, which continued to support Fatah and Abbas’ troops exclusively.[20] The Peruvian diplomat Alvaro de Soto, who served as UN envoy to the Quartet, remarked in 2007 when he resigned from his post, that the U.S. actively opposed reconciliation and “‘pushed for a confrontation between Fatah and Hamas.'”[20] This assertion was also made in an article in Vanity Fair in April 2008 entitled “Gaza Bombshell”, which describes support of the U.S. for Muhammad Dahlan, a Fatah fighter who had been established as Fatah’s head of security in Gaza, with arms and assistance in attempting to overthrow Hamas in Gaza.[24]
    Regardless of U.S. intention, in June 2007, Hamas gained control of the entire Gaza Strip by force, and subsequently PA President Abbas declared a state of emergency and formed a new cabinet without Hamas members. This cabinet included the appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The division led the U.S. and Israel to release funds to the PA and Israel increased coordination with PA forces again. Raids to hunt down Hamas members and fighters in the West Bank occurred with the approval of the U.S. and Israel.[20][25] These circumstances led to the creation of the PASF training program, which became the predominant aspect of U.S. security assistance to the Palestinian Authority. [26]
    The PASF training program was developed under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton. It is the dominant means by which the U.S. supports the 2008–2010 Palestinian Reform and Development Plan, which is a plan that the PA made to address Roadmap obligations.
    [26] . . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_security_assistance_to_the_Palestinian_National_Authority

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 14, 2013, 6:15 pm

      P.S. CONTINUED FROM WIKIPEDIA [United States security assistance to the Palestinian National Authority]:

      [EXCERPTS] . . . ● United States Security Coordinator [USSC]
      The USSC began on the ground in Jerusalem in March 2005, as a small team headed by Lt. Gen. Kip Ward, and it has increased in prominence under Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton from December 2005–October 2010. It will be continued under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller.[20]
      The former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush, Elliott Abrams, characterized the impetus for founding the USSC as based on three factors: George W. Bush’s re-election to a second term and his commitment to the Roadmap for Peace, the death of Yasser Arafat on November 11, 2004 [probably poisoned/murdered by Israel – J.L.D.], and the election of Mahmoud Abbas to the PA presidency in January 2005. Arafat was perceived as resistant to reform of the Palestinian security sector but Abbas was regarded as a moderate who could be worked with.
      • Mission
      According to Lt. Gen. Dayton in his seminal speech[27] on the subject to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in May 2009 the mission of the USSC is:

      to coordinate various international donors under one plan of action that would eliminate duplication of effort. It was to mobilize additional resources and to allay Israeli fears about the nature and capabilities of the Palestinian Security forces. The USSC was to help the Palestinian Authority to right-size its force and advise them on the restructuring and training necessary to improve their ability, to enforce the rule of law, and make them accountable to the leadership of the Palestinian people whom they serve.[28][29]

      In the speech, Dayton laid out four major investments and accomplishments of the USSC under his tenure:

      1. Train and Equip — “we have focused on transforming the Palestinian national security forces into a Palestinian gendarme—an organized police force or police units.”
      2. Capacity Building in the Ministry of Interior — “we have invested considerable funds and personnel into making the ministry a leading arm of the Palestinian government with a capacity to budget, to think strategically, and to plan operationally.”
      3. Infrastructure — “we have worked with Palestinian contractors to build a state-of-the-art training college for the Presidential Guard in Jericho as well as a brand new operational base that will house…one thousand of the returning NSF gendarmes….”
      4. Senior Leadership Training — “we get thirty-six men from all the security services together and they learn how to think about current-day problems and how to operate jointly and with respect for international standards.”[23]

      The USSC Headquarters is a building at the U.S. Consulate General, Jerusalem. U.S. staff have significant travel restrictions in the region due to State Department rules, but foreign workers and U.S. contractors do not face the same rules, and some of those staff are based in Ramallah in the West Bank.[20]

      The staff of the USSC numbers about 45 persons, including American and Canadian military officers along with British and Turkish officers and U.S. civilians. Up to 16 people in the Jerusalem office are U.S. military staff while around 17 Canadian military personnel and two British military staff work in Ramallah. USSC has staff at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv as well. DynCorp International, a U.S. private contractor, provides 28 civilian employees. There are additional staff from the U.S. foreign service serving in the INL office in Jerusalem who oversee the use of program funds for the USSC and they are also responsible for the contractors. INL staff and contractors manage the warehouses of equipment and also manage the West Bank infrastructure construction projects.[30]
      DynCorp contractors staff “Mobile Training Teams” (MTT) to train the NSF battalions in Jordan and to staff the Strategic Planning Directorate (SPD), the office opened in 2007 to assist strategic capacity building of the Ministry of the Interior in its attempt to exert civilian control over the PA Security Forces.[31]
      The USSC staff report to the Secretary of State through their Near East and Asia Bureau and to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[32] . . .

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 14, 2013, 6:56 pm

      P.P.S. CONTINUED FROM WIKIPEDIA [United States security assistance to the Palestinian National Authority]:

      [EXCERPTS] . . . ● Palestinian Authority Security Forces [PASF] Training Program
      • Mission
      The USSC has focused on assistance to the uniformed services of the Palestinian Authority: the National Security Forces (NSF) and the Presidential Guard. They have mostly left security reform of the Palestinian Civil Police Force to other international organizations such as EU COPPS. The NSF is intended to eventually comprise 10 battalions of 500 troops each—one for each of nine governorates in the West Bank and one for reserve. There is no battalion for the Jerusalem governorate where the PA has no security control.[46] The NSF is considered to be a “lightly armed and equipped gendarmerie-style force”, which serves as a back-up to the regular police force in times of overwhelming need. They are expected to “function in small unit or company-size formations, in a military fashion” and have a comparable responsibility to Special Weapons and Tactics teams in U.S. police forces.[47]
      The National Security Forces of the Palestinian Authority have been the primary focus of attention by the USSC, though training and equipment has also been provided to the Presidential Guard, an elite force of four battalions with special functions such as protecting important officials and dignitaries.[48]
      The training program mission according to the GAO is: “to help the PA transform and professionalize its security forces by producing well trained, capable graduates able to perform security related duties supporting the Palestinian Civil Police of other duties as directed by the PA.”[49] In the words of Lt. Gen. Dayton, the training “features a US–Jordanian police training cadre and a U.S. developed curriculum that is heavy on human rights, proper use of force, riot control, and how to handle civil disturbances. The training is also focused on unit cohesion and leadership.”[23]

      • Trainees
      Trainees are typically around 20–22 years of age, and due to the prospect of steady employment, there has been a high demand for the training, leading USSC officials to believe that the recruits are “top notch.”[50]
      Potential recruits to the NSF are extensively vetted by the U.S. for any affiliation with a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and for human rights violations (per Leahy Amendment legislation). The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the Israeli Police,the Jordanians, and the Palestinian Authority all check the names of recruits before they are permitted to take part in the training. About 4.4% of new recruits are turned away on the basis of this screening.[51]
      On the basis of initial trainings, Lt. Gen. Dayton was impressed with the caliber of newly trained NSF troops. In his aforementioned public speech in 2009, he declared, “And what we have created—and I say this in humility—what we have created are new men.” Dayton went on to explain, “upon the return of these new men of Palestine, they have shown motivation, discipline and professionalism, and they have made such a difference….”[23]

      • Trainers
      The actual training of troops is the work of Jordanian Public Security Directorate police trainers who teach in Arabic. They are assisted by Mobile Training Teams, composed of U.S. DynCorp contractors.[52]
      • Training location
      The NSF battalions train at the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC) . . . JIPTC, located 16 miles southeast of Amman, was built there in 2003 as a center for the U.S. to train Iraqi police.[20]

      • Course content
      The curriculum is developed by the INL in consultation with the USSC, the Jordanian Public Security Directorate, and PA officials. In addition to the four month basic training for new recruits, specialized courses are offered to train entire platoons or for individuals. In 2008 Senior Leadership courses were added to the program, which occur in Ramallah. Senior Leadership courses are arranged for 36 commanding officers (major, lieutenant colonel, colonel) led by a Palestinian Major General with trainings conducted by U.S. contractors (DynCorp). In 2010, mid-level leadership courses were expected to begin for majors and captains.[53]
      The basic training is “a mix of classroom and practical exercises focused on the broad areas of firearms operations, crowd control, close quarters operations, patrolling, detainee operations, and checkpoint operations.” The training is intended to “foster unity of command and build camaraderie.”[49]

      • Facilities construction
      Some funds have been allocated in order to construct barracks and training centers inside the West Bank. The first completed project was the Presidential Guard College in Jericho finished in 2009 . . . Other barracks are planned for each PA governorate, however U.S. permission from Israel to build on “Area B” land has not yet been successfully negotiated.[55]

      • Equipment assistance
      Each trained battalion is supplied by the USSC with non-lethal equipment such as vehicles, office equipment, medical equipment, riot gear, body armor, uniforms, and standard issue items.[56] This equipment explicitly excludes weapons and ammunition and Lt. Gen. Dayton has stated, “we don’t give out any guns or bullets.”[57]
      All equipment is controlled carefully to ensure it is used in the manner approved by the USSC. DynCorp furnishes the equipment, which is warehoused by INL in Jerusalem until it receives approval from Israel for delivery to NSF troops in the West Bank. Also all of the equipment is inventoried and subject to end-use monitoring by the U.S. government.[58] This process can be lengthy as noted by Dayton who explained, “We don’t provide anything to the Palestinians unless it has been thoroughly coordinated with the state of Israel and they agree to it. Sometimes this process drives me crazy—I had a lot more hair when I started—but nevertheless, we make it work.”[57]
      Palestinian security forces do receive some weapons from countries such as Jordan and Egypt, but they are subject to Israeli control and scrutiny and have been severely restricted.[59]

      • Funding
      The State Department has provided $392 million to date for the PASF training program, including $160 million for training purpose, $89 million for equipment, $99 million for construction and renovation of facilities, and $22 million for capacity building in the Ministry of Interior. Additionally $150 million has been requested for FY2011: $56 million for the training component, $33 million for more equipment, $53 million for further infrastructure projects, and $3 million for strategic capacity building.[60]
      • Assessment
      A few major instances of the deployment of USSC trained NSF troops have served as illustrations of their success by advocates of the program. . .
      . . . When the Israeli Air Force began their bombing campaign of Gaza in late December 2008, the NSF 3rd Special Battalion was disbursed throughout the West Bank to assist other PA security forces in maintaining order and preventing demonstrations from becoming uncontrollable. The USSC, Israel, and the PA regarded the results of this deployment to be successful because West Bank violence did not escalate during the month-long Israeli offensive.[64] Lt. Gen. Dayton suggested in his 2009 policy speech that the PA response during Operation Cast Lead prevented a third intifada by using “a measured and disciplined approach to the popular unrest” and by keeping demonstrators away from Israelis. In his words “the prospect of order trumped the prospect of chaos.”[57] Journalist Nathan Thrall characterized the same event as the most damaging to the Palestinian security forces’ reputation, as the harsh reaction to protests and to Hamas sympathizers made the PASF seem like collaborators with the Israeli operation.[20]
      . . . Hamas officials coined the phrase “the Dayton troops” to refer to the security forces being trained by the U.S. and they criticized the PA for their collaboration with the U.S. and Israel on security reform. . .

      SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_security_assistance_to_the_Palestinian_National_Authority

  12. RoHa
    February 17, 2013, 5:47 am

    “Palestinians are too corrupt to deserve a state”

    Then don’t give them one. Give them full and equal rights in a unified state from the Jordan to the sea.

Leave a Reply