[News] Israel and the PA: security relations have never been better

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Oct 17 11:28:31 EDT 2019


  Israel and the PA: security relations have never been better

Dr Adnan Abu Amer- October 17, 2019

A number of Hamas cadres in the West Bank have been arrested by the 
Israeli army in recent weeks. This has raised questions about security 
coordination with the occupation authorities, as it has become common 
for Israel to arrest prisoners a day after they are released by the 
Palestinian Authority as part of the revolving door policy adopted by 
both sides.

The commander of the Israeli army in the West Bank, General Eran Niv, 
has expressed his satisfaction with this security coordination; without 
it, he believes that Israel would have faced a substantial increase in 
armed operations. He claimed that the army had confiscated 100 kilograms 
of explosives in Jenin; arrested two Hamas cells in Nablus and Hebron 
that had built two explosives laboratories and planned attacks; thwarted 
200 resistance operations; and arrested 3,000 Palestinians.

Niv noted that the level of security coordination with the Palestinian 
security agencies has reached unprecedented levels. However, such overt 
Israeli praise will expose senior Palestinian figures as collaborators 
with the occupation, which will be embarrassing for them.

The current level of coordination between the PA and Israel goes beyond 
political commitments. It reveals the actual alignment between the PA 
and Israel against the resistance: information is exchanged and members 
of resistance groups are arrested, exacerbating the difficult situation 
of such groups in the occupied West Bank. According to senior Israeli 
security officers, the coordination relies on the backing of the 
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

The head of the Research Division in Israeli Military Intelligence, 
Brigadier General Dror Shalom is one such officer. “The relations 
between Israel and the PA, the attempt to uphold day-to-day life and 
improve the economic situation, and especially effective security 
coordination with the Palestinian security services, depend to a large 
extent on Abbas,” explained Shalom. “A lot of people in Israel see him 
as an inciter, but he is key to the quiet that has been in effect since 
2006… I find it hard to imagine anyone who would present more moderate 
or pragmatic positions than Abbas. We need to take that into consideration.”

Right-wing Israeli writer Nadav Haetzni said that the heads of the 
Israeli security services provide Abbas with complete cover, especially 
senior generals in the Israeli army, Mossad and the Shin Bet security 
service. All, he has claimed, position themselves to defend Abbas and 
his PA. According to the head of Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, he and his 
colleagues are recruiting other senior officers to defend Abbas’s 
security services in the West Bank, and continue to support them by 
pumping funds to the authority.

Members of the Palestinian security services sneak into the West Bank 
disguised as Israeli Special Forces in their attempts to capture members 
of Hamas who are wanted by Israel. Recently-released prisoners are also 
re-arrested and taken to unknown locations, even though they have just 
left an Israeli jail a few days earlier, after spending several years in 
prison. Some of them are very ill. Such re-arrests are common to both 
the Israeli and the Palestinian security services. Recent victims 
include political researcher Yasser Manna, Marwan Astita and teacher 
Muawiya Hanani. A few days after being released by the PA they were 
picked up by the Israelis at their homes in Nablus, along with former 
prisoner Mahmoud Kharouf on his way home to Qalqilya. Palestinian 
political detainee Alaa Bashir is another who has been affected by this 
“revolving door” arrest policy.

The policy is nothing new, and is now out in the open and well-known. 
The problem with this is that the PA and Israel are arresting 
Palestinians on the same charge. The Israelis are no longer content with 
the PA arresting activists, because they do not trust the PA to provide 
the information they need, so Israel must also arrest the individual 
again for questioning about the same case. The policy means that the 
occupation authorities and the PA basically take turns to arrest 
resistance cadres. Any announcements to the contrary by Abbas about 
stopping security coordination are simply for media consumption.

*READ: The PA is tainting Palestinian resistance 

There is very little difference on the modus operandi of the Israeli and 
PA security services. Each escort the other through checkpoints and 
their own areas of control to facilitate arrests. Those who have been 
arrested and interrogated by one side only to be re-arrested by the 
other speak of the same information being told to them by the second 
batch of interrogators, on an almost word for word basis. The 
Palestinian security services also boast of returning Israelis who 
entered West Bank cities “by mistake” back to the Israeli army in the 
context of security coordination, while the PA has also transferred a 
number of detainees from prisons in the West Bank through Israeli 
military checkpoints.

All of this confirms that security coordination between the Palestinian 
Authority and Israel continues despite supposed political disagreements 
and differences between Ramallah and Tel Aviv. Abbas may claim that he 
has severed ties with Israel, but the facts on the ground suggest that 
security coordination in particular is still very much a fact of West 
Bank life. What goes on behind closed doors reveals the true nature of 
the relationship between the PA and Israel. While Israel has been 
attacking Abbas, accusing him of rejecting the peace process and being a 
hostile leader who must be dismissed, it is also working with him 
extensively to prevent the deterioration of the security situation that 
could trigger the third intifada.

Despite the decisions of the Palestine National Council, Palestinian 
Central Council and Palestinian Legislative Council to stop security 
coordination with Israel, Abbas still meets with Shin Bet’s Nadav 
Argaman every now and again in Ramallah. Security relations between the 
two sides have never been better.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not 
necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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