EU Support for Palestinian Security Reforms Has Not Increased Prospects for a Democratic and Viable Palestinian State as Intended

(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) Filip Ejdus and Alaa Tartir - The international community fears that another intense round of violence and confrontation in the West Bank could, as in the past, threaten billions of dollars of investments in the Palestinian state-building project over the last decade. The international donor community remembers well when EU-funded premises, equipment, and PA infrastructure were flattened during the second intifada. The EU, which is the biggest donor to the PA, has invested in the EU Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS), which prides itself on reforming and overhauling major elements of the Palestinian security establishment and enhancing effective policing. From the political point of view, however, the mission has achieved little. Over the last decade, the mission has indeed carved the EU a niche in Palestinian security sector reform and increased its visibility in the Middle East peace process. Nevertheless, the EU's strategy to use EUPOL COPPS to pave the way for a democratic and viable Palestinian state by building its security capacities has fallen short. While the EU generally refrains from supporting security services with a reputation for human rights abuse, such as the U.S.-sponsored Preventive Security agency and the General Intelligence Service of the PA, the EU-supported Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) has also been implicated in the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations. If the current authoritarian backslide of the PA continues, the EU and its mission will be increasingly criticized for financing, professionalizing, and legitimizing a highly politicized and democratically unaccountable police force. This is far from the EU's envisioned approach to security sector reforms. Filip Ejdus is Marie Curie Fellow at the School of Sociology, Politics, and International Studies at the University of Bristol. Alaa Tartir is a research associate at the Center on Conflict, Development, and Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute, Geneva.

2017-08-16 00:00:00

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