"We fixed the boat [the the Israeli's destroyed], thank God, it became as it was before God willing it will start working again soon and we can live off of its produce. As for the Israelis, they will never leave us be. In war, in the sea, they will never leave us. On land, they don't leave us. Wherever we go, they don't leave us. They don't wan the people of Gaza to live in peace.
If I meet an Israeli child, I won't say anything, he has nothing to do with us. It is his father and family who are our enemies, he is not our enemy. When this child grows up and I grow up and we are both men, I will ask him what his father and family have against Gaza. Why do they attack Gaza? Did we do anything to them? Did we hurt them? Did we kill them? Why do they do these things to us?"
In 2009, Palestinian and Israeli forces took part in 1,297 coordinated activities, many of them against militant Palestinian groups, a 72 percent increase over the previous year. Together they have largely disbanded the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a principal Fatah militia; attacked Islamic Jihad cells; and all but eliminated Hamas’s social institutions, financial arrangements, and military activities in the West Bank.
According to the latest annual report of the Shin Bet, Israel’s FBI, “continuous [counterterrorist] activity conducted by Israel and the Palestinian security apparatuses” reduced Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to their lowest numbers since 2000. Today’s level of cooperation, Herzog said, “is better than before the second intifada even—it’s excellent.” Mouna Mansour, a Hamas legislator in the Palestinian Parliament and widow of an assassinated senior leader of the movement, told me, “The PA has succeeded more than the Israelis in crushing Hamas in the West Bank.”
At the center of the Palestinian government’s security reforms are several “special battalions” of the National Security Forces (NSF), an eight-thousand-member gendarmerie that makes up the largest unit of the 25,000-strong Palestinian armed forces in the West Bank. The officer in charge of the vetting, training, equipping, and strategic planning of these special battalions is Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, the United States security coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
-Our Man in Palestine
The security apparati being created, in tandem with a second-generation of monopolies and concentrations of economic power, have little to no domestic transparency or accountability. Effectively, final control rests with Israel, the CIA and other external intelligence services. Western diplomats and officials have described the relationship between the CIA and the two Palestinian security bodies responsible for most of the torture of Hamas supporters as being "so close that the American agency appears to be supervising the Palestinians' work". In the wake of the Hamas 2006 election victory, funding for these security services increased, and continued to be off-balance sheet: it was supplied by western donors and their regional allies, covertly.
Across the board, donors -- including the EU and the UN and of course the US -- are financing and implementing the construction of the infrastructural matrix for the security sector -- including prisons (the EU is providing the bulk of funding for 52 prisons -- "more prisons than schools" a security analyst told me during a recent visit to the West Bank), new security facilities and camps in 8 Palestinian cities (each intelligence agency has its own detention center in each town), an academy and a host of training colleges, security force barracks and other facilities.* The principal target for this security infrastructure has been Hamas. Campaigns ostensibly to re-establish public order have provided the cover to clamp down predominantly on Hamas: Palestinian human rights groups have documented over 10,000 supporters of Hamas being arrested by the PA security forces since 2007. The current police/security-to-population ratio in Palestine -- 1:80 -- is not only one of the highest in the world, but is also financially unsustainable.
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