News / Middle East

Palestinian Security Forces Reflect Promise of Future State

Palestinian security forces have succeeded in creating better security in the West Bank
Palestinian security forces have succeeded in creating better security in the West Bank

Multimedia

For the last few years, the United States and other Western nations have been training thousands of Palestinian police as part of efforts to build institutions for a new Palestinian state.  For the most part, the forces have succeeded in creating better security in the West Bank. Businesses are booming, and polls show most West Bank residents feel safer. However, many Israelis see the security forces as a de-facto army under Palestinian command that could one day turn against the Jewish State.

It's early morning at the Palestinian Authority Security Forces camp in Ramallah.  

These West Bank recruits are trained with U.S. help.  They are proud, and they are disciplined.

"I decided to be part of the national security forces, first of all, to serve my homeland, and to implement the political decisions of our leaders," Sergeant Ali Salim Shaalan said. Shaalan is among hundreds of former Palestinian militants who are now part of the security forces.  His approach has changed, but his goal has not. "I want to participate in the building of our Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

The existence of a well-trained, disciplined force appears to be paying off.  Most West Bank residents say they feel safe on their streets.  The West Bank's economy is booming.

But analysts say that confidence could collapse as the stalled peace process raises frustration among Palestinians who don't see statehood coming fast enough.

Ramallah pollster Khalil Shikaki says the latest surveys indicate Palestinians are divided on the security forces. "About half of the Palestinians believe that the improved performance of the security services is essentially an attempt to disarm the resistance. The other half believes that this is part of state building. As long as diplomacy is not looking promising, Palestinians will continue to have doubts," he said.
Recent polls show growing support among Palestinians for a return to violence.  

This worries those who remember Palestinian security forces turning their guns on Israelis during the last Palestinian uprising.

Israeli Brigadier General Shalom Hariri is a senior researcher at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism. He advises the Israeli administration on West Bank matters and says the potential exists for renewed violence against Israelis by Palestinian security forces.

"If you ask me, today, they are doing something like 80 percent of the effort and this is very good compared to 10 percent in the days of Arafat. But still , it is very vulnerable and at the same time it's also very, very reversible," Hariri said. "For those of us who are used to the way things go in the West Bank, the situation can roll upside down within a week."

Recent cases of attacks on Israelis by off-duty Palestinian police have fueled those fears. Palestinian commanders say the cases are isolated and the perpetrators have been punished.

Sergeant Shaalan says he is - for now - placing his faith in the Palestinian leaders and their promises to end the Israeli occupation.  "There will be justice, a solution for our situation that will be found by the leaders.  At the end of the day, they will make the decisions, and we will obey their orders," he said.

Shaalan says he hopes this is the dawn of a new era of peace, and not another day of conflict.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid