Will Mahmoud Abbas Reject Israeli Protection?

(Gatestone Institute) Steven J. Rosen - Shortly after the death of Yasser Arafat on November 11, 2004, and the election of Mahmoud Abbas to the Palestinian Authority [PA] presidency in January 2005, the U.S. Department of State increased its security assistance to the PA and began to promote Palestinian security cooperation with Israeli security services. Today, security makes up a sizeable proportion of the PA budget, accounting for 26% of 2013 expenditures. Of the 83,000 PA civil servants in the West Bank, 31,000 (37%) are "defense workers." There is now one security person for every 52 Palestinian residents compared to one educator for every 75 residents. In April 2010, Israel submitted an official report on enhanced Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation to the international Palestinian donors' group. It reported that a mechanism for enhanced coordination has "been established between the two sides. Priority requests are now processed within just a few minutes. In 2009, coordinated operations numbered 1,297, a 72% increase over 2008." A year later Israel reported that, in 2011, 764 joint security meetings were held between Israeli and Palestinian security authorities. In recent months Mahmoud Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel, even including the idea that he will terminate security cooperation with Israel if his political demands are not met. Abbas, however, has ample evidence that this security cooperation is at least as important to his security, and to control of the territory by Fatah and the PA. Most Israeli intelligence experts believe that withdrawal of the IDF from the West Bank would quickly lead to the end of the PA and the rise of Hamas. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in September that, if the IDF were not there, Hamas would take over and other terrorists groups such as Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda and Islamic State would be able to operate freely in the West Bank. The writer, former foreign policy director of AIPAC, is now director of the Washington Project at the Middle East Forum.

2014-10-21 00:00:00

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