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Our Man in Palestine

Salam Fayyad; drawing by John Springs

Ward’s mission concentrated initially on security reform but was soon limited to preparing for Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza and four northern West Bank settlements in August and September 2005.21 The withdrawal went fairly smoothly for Israel, but Ward failed to prevent violence on the Palestinian side. Settler greenhouses were looted, empty synagogues were burned, and Palestinians began fighting one another for control of Gaza.22

Weeks after Dayton took over from Ward at the end of 2005, Hamas defeated Fatah in the January 2006 parliamentary elections. Overnight, Dayton’s task changed from reforming the security forces to preventing a Hamas-led government from controlling them. State Department lawyers sought ways to continue assisting the Fatah-dominated security forces of the Palestinian Authority, which would soon be led by Hamas, a group the US had declared a terrorist organization. The solution was to send direct aid to President Abbas, who was elected separately and could be considered detached from the incoming Hamas-led government and legislature. In a reversal of its longstanding policy of pressuring the Palestinian president to give power to the cabinet, the US advised Abbas to issue decrees and make appointments that would limit the new government’s rule, particularly over the security forces.23 Hamas reacted by establishing a security service of its own. Abbas banned the Hamas force in a decree that the cabinet then declared illegal. During the next year, Hamas and Fatah engaged in a series of violent clashes in which leaders on both sides were assassinated.24

Dayton, meanwhile, was overseeing the recruitment, training, and equipping of Abbas’s rapidly expanding security forces.25 Khaled Meshaal, chief of Hamas’s politburo, delivered a fiery speech denouncing “the security coup” as a “conspiracy” supported by “the Zionists and the Americans”—charges Fatah denied.26 In February 2007, on the brink of civil war, Fatah and Hamas leaders traveled to Mecca, where they agreed to form a national unity government, a deal the US opposed because it preferred that Fatah continue to isolate Hamas. Fayyad became finance minister in the new government, despite, he says, American pressure not to join.27 The Peruvian diplomat Alvaro de Soto, former UN envoy to the Quartet, wrote in a confidential “End of Mission Report” that the violence between Hamas and Fatah could have been avoided had the US not strongly opposed Palestinian reconciliation. “The US,” he wrote, “clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fateh and Hamas.”28

One month before Gaza fell to Hamas in June 2007, Hamas forces attacked USSC-trained troops at their base near Gaza’s border with Israel, killing seven and withdrawing only after three Israeli tanks approached.29 Testifying before Congress the following week, Dayton claimed that the attack had been repulsed and denied that Hamas was on the rise—a prediction not borne out during the following weeks.30 “It took [Hamas] just a few days,” said Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, “to flush away a 53,000-strong PA security apparatus which was a fourteen-year Western investment.”31

Though several members of the Bush administration later said that the entire strategy had been mistaken, the defeat of American-backed Fatah forces offered a rather different lesson to the small circle that had influence over the USSC.32 “We didn’t regard this as proof the project wasn’t working,” Abrams said, “but rather that the project was needed.”

Gaza was lost, but in Abbas’s appointment of an emergency cabinet led by Salam Fayyad, the US felt it had “the best Palestinian Authority government in history.” So I was told by David Welch, a former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs who helped oversee the Dayton mission until December 2008. The Bush administration ended its fourteen-month embargo of the PA, Israel released $500 million in withheld taxes, Palestinian and Israeli security forces increased their coordination, and the USSC rapidly expanded its operations. In Fayyad’s first three and a half months as prime minister, from mid-June to October 2007, the Palestinian Authority mounted a campaign in the West Bank against charities, businesses, preachers, and civil servants affiliated with Hamas, arresting some 1,500 of the movement’s members and suspected sympathizers.33 “Once it became clear that Hamas had won in Gaza,” Welch said, “then the whole thing was a lot cleaner to do in the West Bank.”

By late October 2007, the government was making an intensive effort to maintain order in Nablus, one of the West Bank’s most violent cities; in Jenin the following May a special battalion trained by the USSC led the largest security operation ever mounted by the PA.34 Both efforts won approval from local residents, who were grateful for improved security. But these projects were largely dependent not only on restraint by Hamas and Islamic Jihad but also on Israel’s support, including the amnesty it offered to Fatah gunmen.35

Many Palestinians see today’s campaigns by the security forces as an effort to suppress Hamas—the victors in free and fair elections—and also to prevent attacks against Israel. “The challenge for Fayyad and Abbas,” Ghaith al-Omari, a former foreign policy adviser to Abbas, told me, “is that for many Palestinians violence against Israel is a nationalist, respectable endeavor.” This is a view confirmed by reactions to the most recent suicide bombing in Israel—at a Dimona shopping center in February 2008—and the shooting one month later of eight students at a yeshiva in West Jerusalem. More than three quarters of polled Palestinians supported the attacks, which were praised by Hamas and condemned by the PA.36

Over the following year, the PA alienated itself from the public still further and with little aid from Hamas. At an Israeli base north of Ramallah in September 2008, the Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea attended a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli commanders. In an article later translated in the Palestinian press, Barnea reported in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most widely circulated newspaper, that the head of the Palestinian National Security Forces told the Israelis, “We have a common enemy,” and the chief of Palestinian military intelligence said, “We are taking care of every Hamas institution in accordance with your instructions”37

Another blow to the PA’s popularity came one and a half months later. After Israeli forces evicted some two hundred Jews from a contested building in Hebron, Israeli settlers in the area vandalized ambulances and mosques, set fire to cars and homes, and shot and wounded Palestinian residents. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was “ashamed at the scenes of Jews opening fire at innocent Arabs,” an event he called a “pogrom.”38 When the riots spread to the Palestinian-controlled part of the city, Hebron locals watched as their security forces quietly disappeared.39 Both the former governor, now Abbas’s chief of staff, and the NSF commander of Hebron, a Hamas stronghold, told me that Israeli soldiers regularly make incursions into PA-controlled areas, forcing, the governor said, “humiliated and insulted” Palestinian troops to withdraw to their barracks. Perceptions of collaboration are heightened, they added, by Israel’s frequent practice of arresting people who have just been released from Palestinian detention.

The most damage to the reputation of the Palestinian security forces occurred during the Israeli war in Gaza, which began in December 2008. In plainclothes and uniform, PA officers in the West Bank surrounded mosques, kept young men from approaching Israeli checkpoints, arrested protesters chanting Hamas slogans, and dispersed demonstrators with batons, pepper spray, and tear gas.40 The trust between Israeli and Palestinian forces was so great, Dayton said, that “a good portion of the Israeli army went off to Gaza.”41 Barak Ben-Zur, a former head of counterterrorism in Israeli military intelligence and later special assistant to the director of the Shin Bet, told me that “in Israeli Arab cities there were more protests against the war than in the West Bank,” thanks to the “total quiet kept by the Palestinian security services.” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman later said, “Mahmoud Abbas himself called and asked us, pressured us to continue the military campaign and overthrow Hamas.”42

Several months after the war in Gaza, Dayton spoke before an influential group of politicians and analysts at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he boasted of his mission’s accomplishments: building a force that worked against Hamas and cooperated with Israel during the war, and creating “new men” through USSC training of Palestinian troops. Israeli commanders, he said, asked him how quickly he could produce more.43 His comments were not well received in Palestine, where they reinforced the image of the US and Israel as puppeteers. In the months following the speech, the PA sent a formal complaint to the US about Dayton’s “unacceptable declarations”; senior Palestinian officials, including Fayyad, refused to attend meetings with Dayton; and, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly, “owing to tensions in the relationship between [General] Dayton and the civilian Palestinian leadership, his role [was] scaled down.”44

For Fayyad, Dayton’s speech could not have been timed more poorly; it followed the release of a widely publicized poll that had found the PA’s legitimacy among West Bank residents at record lows, and occurred just weeks after Palestinians held large demonstrations protesting an alleged attempt by PA security forces to assassinate Sheikh Hamed al-Beitawi, a prominent Hamas leader in the West Bank.45 Beitawi, a member of the parliament, chairman of the Palestinian Islamic Scholars Association, and a cleric well known for his sermons at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, had escaped a separate attack by unidentified assailants in the autumn of 2008.46 The PA banned him this summer from preaching and two of his sons have been arrested since July. Yet Beitawi said he was confident that the Fayyad government would not last.47 “Fatah and the PA are going down for two reasons,” he told me in Nablus: “corruption and coordination with the Israelis.”

Last December, when Israeli forces in Nablus, allegedly acting on a tip from PA security services, killed three Palestinian militants suspected of murdering a West Bank rabbi, more than 20,000 Palestinians attended the funeral, which turned into an enormous protest against the PA’s security cooperation with Israel.48 Several days later, Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV broadcast a cartoon with a chorus singing, “We swear that we will not be terrorized by Dayton.”49 Its central character, Balool, is a Palestinian National Security Force commander who kisses the boots of Israeli soldiers, wears a beret bearing the insignia “Dayton,” and claims not to represent any political faction just before his pants fall to reveal underwear colored in Fatah’s yellow.

On the day the cartoon was shown on television, Abbas, who is depicted in it as an Israeli soldier’s marionette, told an interviewer, “We are not Israel’s security guards.”50 A week later, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Doha-based television preacher who is watched by an audience of tens of millions, said in a sermon broadcast on Qatar TV that “if it is proven that [Abbas] incited Israel to strike Gaza, he deserves not merely to be executed, but to be stoned to death.”51

Islamists have hardly been the only critics of Dayton and the security forces. Last year, in an Op-Ed entitled “Jericho’s Stasi,” Bassem Eid, head of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, wrote, “I would like to suggest that General Dayton not just train agents in the use of weapons, beating and torture…but also train them how to behave among their own people.”52 The National Security Forces trained by Dayton are not authorized to make arrests, but they regularly lead joint operations with Palestinian security services whose senior leaders have been trained by the USSC, and that have, according to Human Rights Watch and Palestinian human rights groups, practiced torture.53 A year into Fayyad’s first term, Mamdouh al-Aker, then head of the PA’s human rights organization, spoke of the government’s “militarization” and asserted that “a state of lawlessness had shifted to a sort of a security state, a police state.”54

Charges of authoritarianism have intensified since. Abbas, whose term expired during the war in Gaza, has been ruling by presidential decree. There has been no legislature since June 2007, and judicial rulings are frequently ignored by the security services. Fayyad, for all his commitment to accountability and transparency, has repeatedly been found in polls to have less legitimacy than the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, and oversees a government that in a recent Global Integrity Index tied with Iraq as the sixth most corrupt in the world.55

In other respects, too, the PA’s practices have come under severe criticism. According to Sha’wan Jabarin, the director of the Palestinian human rights group al-Haq, torture has in recent months again become routine. In polls taken since Fayyad took office, West Bank residents have consistently reported feeling less safe than Gazans, whose lives under Hamas rule are in many respects worse. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has dictated Friday sermons to be read by imams. Palestinian journalists, according to Amnesty International, were detained and threatened during the Gaza war for reporting on government suppression. The Palestinian Authority, since Fayyad became prime minister, has twice ranked lower in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index than any other Arab government. And Freedom House now gives the PA the same rating for political rights that it does for civil liberties—“not free”56

Fayyad has attempted to strengthen his credibility with Palestinians by participating in acts of “peaceful resistance”—demonstrations against Israel’s security wall and burnings of products made in Israeli settlements. But Sam Bahour, a Palestinian entrepreneur and advocate of civil rights, told me that the government’s recent decision “to adopt one small element” of an existing and more comprehensive boycott is mere “window dressing” meant to cover up “a heavy-handed security state whose primary goals are to keep Hamas and criticism of the government in check.” On August 25, when leftist and independent political parties held a rally against the direct talks with Israel that began one week later, it was violently broken up by PA security forces.57

Last winter and spring, the PA prepared for July municipal elections, which Hamas, citing political repression, announced it would boycott.58 Khalil Shikaki, the most prominent Palestinian pollster, told me that the purpose of the elections was “to further weaken Hamas and bolster the government’s legitimacy.” When Fatah’s internal divisions prevented it from agreeing on candidate lists, the PA canceled the elections, denying that it had done so because Fatah feared losing.59 But Sha’wan Jabarin told me that the government’s denial was not credible:

In May and June, we learned of tens or hundreds of cases where Hamas followers were questioned by the security forces about the municipal elections and asked if they want to run or not, if they want to vote or not, to whom they want to give their vote.

At his office in Ramallah, Shikaki said that because people in Gaza feel freer to express their political views to his staff, “We get more accurate reporting on how people voted in the last election in Gaza than we do here.”60

In his report circulated among senior White House and military staff earlier this year, Colonel Dermer wrote, “While Israelis and [US] officials view recent PA successes in the field rather myopically as a win against terror, wary Palestinians view them as new [PA] regime protection.” A shortcoming of US efforts, he believes, “is the undefined nature of the USSC mission and its desired end state. Is the aim for the PA to take on and defeat Hamas militarily? To seek vengeance for the loss of Gaza? To maintain order on Israel’s behalf? Or is it to lay the security groundwork for a free and independent democratic Palestinian state?” Ghandi Amin, a director at the Independent Commission for Human Rights, a PA ombudsman, told me, “I have no hope for the Fayyad plan. I look on the ground and see only an increased role for security agencies.”

In October, Dayton will retire and be replaced by a three-star Air Force general, Michael Moeller. During the next year, Moeller is scheduled to receive the USSC’s largest ever appropriation.61 His task, as the deadlines for both the Fayyad plan and the end of Israeli–Palestinian negotiations approach, will be to advance two irreconcilable goals: building a Palestinian force that can guarantee Israeli security while also lessening the perception that the US is firmly supporting what many residents of the West Bank, like the independent politician Mustafa Barghouti, have come to describe not as one occupation but two.62

—September 16, 2010

  1. 21

    Not long after Ward’s arrival, the Palestinian minister of interior complained to the legislature that his and Ward’s reform efforts were “torpedoed” by the security forces and the foreign intelligence services that paid them. Jarat Chopra, a former PLO adviser who headed a group that served as the USSC’s operational arm, told me, “Ward’s largest challenges came from Israel and the CIA, both of which, in protecting their relationships with Palestinian security chiefs, impeded reform and encouraged the fiefdom mentality that Arafat had cultivated among his more than one dozen rivalrous security services.” See Pinhas Inbari and Dan Diker, “The Murder of Musa Arafat and the Battle for the Spoils of Gaza, ” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 10, 2005. See also Khaled Abu Toameh, “PA-Sponsored Gunmen Abet Anarchy,” The Jerusalem Post, June 14, 2005.

  2. 22

    Arafat’s sixty-five-year-old cousin, Musa Arafat, a former head of military intelligence, was dragged in pajamas from his home and shot fifteen times outside the offices of the Preventive Security Organization, the chief Palestinian recipient of CIA assistance, long headed by his rival, Mohammad Dahlan.

  3. 23

    Palestinians, Israel, and the Quartet: Pulling Back from the Brink,” International Crisis Group, Middle East Report No. 54, June 13, 2006, p. 7. “Could you issue a presidential decree that says, ‘I hereby say that this force—Force 17—is no longer under the minister of interior’?” Elliott Abrams told me. “But the question was always more legal and formal. In the real world, we—Abbas, Fatah, the PA, the PLO—were in control the whole time.”

  4. 24

    Deployments were met with counter-deployments, followed by clashes, assasinations, a more than doubling of M-16 prices, and self-imposed curfews in Gaza. See Adam Entous and Haitham Tamimi, “Hamas, Abbas Rivalry Spurs Palestinian Arms Race,” Reuters, June 8, 2006; Khaled Abu Toameh, “‘This Must End Before It’s Like Iraq,’” The Jerusalem Post, December 20, 2006.

  5. 25

    Adam Entous, “Abbas Builds Up Forces Amid Palestinian Crisis,” Reuters, October 5, 2006. David Welch, a former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs who helped oversee the Dayton mission until December 2008, told me, “We were essentially trying to carve an uneasy middle ground between cleaning the security forces up and defeating the enemy.” Leaked documents—published by a Jordanian newspaper and drafted, Welch told me, by Dayton—state that between December 7, 2006 and February 28, 2007, basic training had been initiated for 3,700 security personnel in Gaza and for 1,400 security personnel in the West Bank. In addition, the documents state, vetting and selection had been initiated for 15,000 national security personnel in Gaza and for 5,000 in the West Bank.

    See David Rose, “The Proof Is in the Paper Trail,” Vanity Fair, March 5, 2008. General Mohammad Araj, the Dayton-trained NSF commander of Hebron, told me that his battalion began training in 2006. A senior Bush administration official told me, “The Egyptians and Jordanians provided material support, while the biggest financial backers were the Emiratis. For a time, the Saudis also provided funding.”

  6. 26

    Political Office Leader Khalid Mashal Speech: No Way We Will Bend to US, Israeli & Fateh Pressure to Be Subservient to the Zionists—Fateh Leaders in an Uproar,” Palestine News Network, April 22, 2006. By the fall of 2006, the Israeli daily Haaretz had reported that Dayton planned to push Abbas to confront Hamas in Gaza: Welch and Abrams, on a visit to Israel in early November, had “arrived with an ambitious plan that was formulated by Lieutenant General Keith Dayton…. The United States wants to push Abu Mazen into a military confrontation in Gaza, which will topple the Hamas government.” Aluf Benn, “Words, Words, Words,” Haaretz, November 2, 2006.

  7. 27

    A Palestinian State in Two Years: Interview with Salam Fayyad,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn 2009.

  8. 28

    Alvaro de Soto, “End of Mission Report,” May 2007. A week before Mecca, de Soto wrote, “the US envoy declared twice in an envoys’ meeting in Washington how much ‘I like this violence.’” “I did say that,” Welch told me. “But what I also said was, ‘Were there no violence, the good guys would already have capitulated.’” The day after the national unity government was formed, Abbas appointed as national security adviser Hamas’s loathed rival, Muhammad Dahlan. “We can never forget that this was the man who burnt our beards and tortured us,” said the Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar. The Zahar quote can be found in Beverley Milton-Edwards and Stephen Farrell, Hamas (Polity, 2010), p. 280.

    At the end of April 2007, a Jordanian newspaper published leaked US documents—see endnote 25—outlining a strategy to collapse the national unity government, bolster Fatah, and eliminate Hamas’s new security force. Hamas officials would later say that these plans, together with the arrival from Egypt of troops trained under Dayton, prompted them to go on the offensive in Gaza in late spring. Originally published online in Arabic by al-Majd, April 2007 and published soon after in English by a blog called Missing Links.

    See Rose, “The Proof Is in the Paper Trail.” See also “After Gaza,” International Crisis Group, Middle East Report No. 68, August 2, 2007, p. 11; and comments by Mahmoud Zahar and Fawzi Barhoum in David Rose, “The Gaza Bombshell,” Vanity Fair, April 2008.

  9. 29

    Ibrahim Barzak, “Hamas Kills 7 in Gaza Border Clash,” Associated Press, May 15, 2007.

  10. 30

    US Assistance to the Palestinians,” Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 110th Congress, May 23, 2007.

  11. 31

    Paul McGeough, Kill Khalid (New Press, 2009), p. 381.

  12. 32

    David Wurmser, a Middle East adviser to Vice President Cheney, went so far as to say that “what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen.” See Rose, “The Gaza Bombshell.” See also the quotes from John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, in the same article: “Having failed to heed the warning not to hold the elections, they tried to avoid the result through Dayton.” Several Bush administration officials told me, however, that Wurmser and Bolton did not have much influence over the policy they criticized.

  13. 33

    Ruling Palestine II: The West Bank Model?,” International Crisis Group, Middle East Report No. 79, July 17, 2008, p. 4.

  14. 34

    Mohammed Najib, “Palestinian Officers Graduate from Jordanian Special Ops Training Course,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, May 2, 2008.

  15. 35

    Counterterror operations conducted by the Israeli army were also responsible for the improved security. In February 2008, Major-General Gadi Shamni, then head of Israel’s Central Command, told President Shimon Peres, “Without the massive IDF presence in the West Bank, Hamas would take over the institutions and apparatuses of the Palestinian Authority within days.”

  16. 36

    The Dimona attack was supported by 77 percent of Palestinians and the Jerusalem attack by 84 percent. “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 27,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, March 24, 2008.

  17. 37

    Nahum Barnea, “Last Chance,” Yedioth Ahronoth, September 19, 2008; “Shocking Details of PA-Israeli security meetings,” Palestine Times, September 29, 2008; Jon Elmer, “A Prescription for Civil War,” Al-Jazeera, February 8, 2010.

  18. 38

    Hebron: Willful Abandonment by Security Forces,” B’Tselem, December 10, 2008. Ethan Bronner, “Israeli Troops Evict Settlers in the West Bank,” The New York Times, December 4, 2008. “Olmert condemns settler ‘pogrom,’” BBC, December 7, 2008.

  19. 39

    Jared Malsin, “Witnesses: Israeli Police, Soldiers ‘Deeply Involved’ in Settler Attacks,” Ma’an News Agency, December 7, 2008. Tony Karon and Aaron J. Klein, “Israeli Settler Youth on the Rampage in Hebron,” Time, December 5, 2008.

  20. 40

    Robert Blecher, “Operation Cast Lead in the West Bank,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, no. 3(Spring 2009). A recent International Crisis Group report states, “In Hebron [during the war in Gaza] a bystander videotaped the Palestinian brigade commander (NSF) beating an unarmed Hamas affiliate with a cane. See “Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation.”

  21. 41

    Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, “Peace through Security: America’s Role in the Development of the Palestinian Authority Security Services,” Program of the Soref Symposium, Michael Stein Address on US Middle East Policy, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, May 7, 2009.

  22. 42

    Michaeli, “Lieberman: Israel’s Gestures to Palestinians Met with ‘Slaps in the Face.’”

  23. 43

    Dayton, “Peace through Security: America’s Role in the Development of the Palestinian Authority Security Services.”

  24. 44

    Mohammed Najib, “Palestinian Authority Seeks Changes in Security Training,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, August 5, 2009; and “Palestinian Authority to Opt Out of US Training Programme,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, March 17, 2010.

  25. 45

    Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 31,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, December 22, 2008. “Massive Hamas Demonstrations Denounce Beitawi Shooting as ‘Assassination Attempt,’” Ma’an News Agency, April 19, 2009.

  26. 46

    For the strafing of Beitawi’s car, see “Car of PLC Member Fired upon by Unknown Persons in Nablus,” Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, September 4, 2008. For Beitawi’s chairmanship of the Palestinian Islamic Scholars Association, see Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale University Press, 2006), p. 102.

  27. 47

    Hamas Sheikh Banned from Delivering Sermons,” Ma’an News Agency, August 16, 2010. One son was arrested in July and another in September. See “PA Night Raids Target 2 Leaders,” Ma’an News Agency, September 12, 2010; and “Source: 20 Hamas leaders detained, funds seized,” Ma’an News Agency, July 31, 2010.

  28. 48

    20,000 attend funeral for slain Nablus Fatah men,” Ma’an, December 26, 2009. “Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation.”

  29. 49

    Halfway through the cartoon, Balool offers a white dove to an Orthodox Jewish settler who before his eyes has murdered and drunk the blood of Palestinian children. See “New AntiSemitic Animated Film Vilifies the Palestinian Authority—PA Security Forces Help Stereotypical Blood-Drinking Jews,” Middle East Media Research Institute, January 1, 2010. Video; transcript.

  30. 50

    For Abbas’s statement, see “Transcript of Interview with Mahmoud Abbas,” WAFA (Ramallah), January 1, 2010, Open Source Document GMP20100102061003 (English translation from Arabic), as cited in “US Security Assistance to the Palestinian Authority,” Congressional Research Service, January 8, 2010, p. 30.

  31. 51

    Sheik Al-Qaradhawi Suggests that Mahmoud Abbas Should Be Stoned to Death and Is Rebuked by PA Minister of Religious Endowments,” Middle East Media Research Institute, January 7, 2010.

  32. 52

    Bassem Eid, “Jericho’s Stasi,” The Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2009.

  33. 53

    However, Jari Kinnunen, the lead police adviser of EUPOL COPPS, the European Union Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories, told me, “All of the Palestinian security services are making arrests. But not all have the authority to do so.” Another reason the NSF bears some responsibility for the practices of other security services is that one of its officers is always the “local area commander” in each governorate, with overall security responsibility. Human Rights Watch has condemned foreign donors for failing to “criticize serious human rights abuses by the forces they support,” and the deputy commander of Palestinian Military Intelligence has said, “The malpractices of the Palestinian government and its security apparatuses reflect negatively on Fatah’s reputation on the Palestinian street.” “Internal Fight,” Human Rights Watch, July 29, 2008. “Hamas and Fatah Split Their Differences,” Jane’s Foreign Report, March 12, 2009.

  34. 54

    Palestinian Group Accuses Hamas, Fatah of Abusing Human Rights,” Reuters, May 27, 2008.

  35. 55

    On the relative legitimacy of the two governments, see “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll #27,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, March 24, 2008, and “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll #31,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, March 5–7, 2009. On corruption rankings, see “Global Integrity Report 2008, West Bank,” Global Integrity, 2008.

  36. 56

    Civilians are regularly tried in military courts, and the PA has dissolved elected municipal councils controlled by Hamas. See “Palestinian Authority, Amnesty International Report 2010”; and “The Detention of Civilians by Palestinian Security Agencies With a Stamp of Approval by the Military Judicial Commission,” Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, December 2008.

    On feelings of security in Gaza and the West Bank, see “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 31” and other recent polls by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

    On the Ministry of Religious Affairs dictating sermons, see, for example, “Qaradawi slams Abbas,” Al-Ahram, January 21–27, 2010. On press freedom, see Reporters Without Borders, “Press Freedom Index 2007” and “Press Freedom Index 2008.” On Freedom House’s rating, see “Palestinian Authority-Administered Territories, Freedom in the World 2010.”

  37. 57

    PA Forces Assault Press and Rights Workers at Anti-talks Protest,” Ma’an News Agency, August 28, 2010.

  38. 58

    Khaled Abu Toameh, “Hamas to boycott W. Bank elections,” The Jerusalem Post, May 24, 2010.

  39. 59

    Controversy over elections decision continues,” Ma’an News Agency, June 11, 2010. At Fatah headquarters in April, Muhammad Madani, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, told me the elections were not meant to help Fatah, all of whose troubles, he stressed, were over.

  40. 60

    Government repression, including in its most violent forms, is a growing problem, according to Jabarin. He said that he had been promised by Fayyad last September that the security services—over whom the prime minister said he had “full authority”—would put an end to torture. But after a lull last winter, Jabarin said, “torture is again a trend; it has become routine.” Several prisoners have died in custody, among them a popular Hamas cleric, Sheikh Majd Barghouti.

  41. 61

    The State Department has requested that the USSC receive its largest ever appropriation—$150 million—in 2011. As of this writing, Congress has not passed the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. See “Fiscal Year 2011 Executive Budget Summary—Function 150 & Other International Programs,” US Department of State, February 1, 2010. For a comparison of the 2011 appropriation request to USSC budgets in previous years, see “Palestinian Authority: US Assistance Is Training and Equipping Security Forces, but the Program Needs to Meassure Progress and Faces Logistical Constraints.”

  42. 62

    In January 2009, Mustafa Barghouti, who placed second in the 2005 presidential elections, stated, “It’s shameful. The people cannot live with two occupations at once.” Andrew Lee Butters, “Casualties of War: Palestinian Moderates,” Time, January 10, 2009.

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