March 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Rejects Security Cooperation with Israel

March 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Rejects Security Cooperation with Israel

Latest Developments

Senior Palestinian leader Azzam al-Ahmad said on Wednesday that President Mahmoud Abbas had instructed Palestinian security services to “confront” Israeli troops and “settlers” who enter Palestinian-controlled areas in the West Bank. In so doing, the PA is effectively turning the Palestinian security forces – a mechanism designed to promote stability – into an instrument of conflict. State Department spokesperson Ned Price responded that the PA and Israel should be “leaning into security cooperation with each other at such a time.”

Expert Analysis

“Since 2005, the Palestinian Security Forces have been bolstered by the United States and international partners as a tool for peace. The successful security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Security Forces protects Palestinian and Israeli lives and ensures the survival of the Palestinian Authority. If the PA weaponizes the security forces, the Palestinian leadership is putting its own survival in jeopardy.” Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Heightened Tensions

Al-Ahmad’s statement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. On Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist gunned down two brothers in their car as they drove through the Palestinian town of Hawara. In response, a group of Israeli settlers rioted in the Palestinian town where the brothers were murdered, killing one Palestinian, wounding dozens, and causing extensive property damage. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called for calm after the riot, urging Israelis not take the law into their own hands.

2023 Has Witnessed a High Death Toll

In 2023, Palestinian terrorists have already killed 13 Israelis, including a dual Israeli-American citizen, and a Ukrainian national. During the same period, more than 60 Palestinians died, mostly in clashes with Israel. According to an FDD review of open-source data, more than two-thirds of the Palestinian fatalities in 2023 had participated in terror attacks or were affiliated with terror organizations.

The U.S. Role in Security Coordination

The United States has led the effort to create an effective security coordination mechanism for Israelis and Palestinians through the establishment of the Office of US Security Coordinator (USSC) in 2005. Founded in the wake of the Second Intifada, the USSC — based in Jerusalem and headed by Lieutenant General Michael R. Fenzel — has the mandate to “transform and professionalize” Palestinian armed groups, according to the State Department. Another primary objective of the USSC is to implement the security arrangements between the PA and Israel as envisioned in the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s.

Related Analysis

Israel, Palestinians Reaffirm Need to Work Together,” FDD Flash Brief

Why the West Bank is in chaos,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Joe Truzman

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman


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