Monday, May 24, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Palestinians Plan to Limit US Security Involvement

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - The Middle East News Line, known as a reliable and credible source, reports that the Palestinian Authority  (PA) has drafted a plan that would end direct U.S. involvement in Palestinian security in the West Bank.

The plan calls for Palestinian trainers to replace those brought by the United States as well as the marginalization of the team headed by U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton. Under the plan, Lt. Gen. Dayton would no longer have access to PA security forces or field operations.

“The idea is to have only Palestinians train and direct the security forces,” a PA official said.

The official said the PA draft covered security requirements and goals for the next two years. He said the plan has been divulged to only a handful of senior officials, including Interior Minister Said Abu Ali and several security chiefs.

The PA leadership, prodded by the ruling Fatah movement, determined that U.S. intervention was hampering security force development and undermining the legitimacy of the regime of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

“There is a consensus that the American presence has to be significantly reduced in 2010,” the official said.

The PA security plan, drafted by the Palestinian Interior Ministry, called for the replacement of Western security trainers with Palestinians. Palestinians would be selected to instruct police and other security officers in a range of skills.

A key step was the PA decision not to renew the contract of DynCorp International, responsible for training and mentoring Palestinian security forces in the West Bank and Jordan. The official said the Palestinians have succeeded DynCorp in conducting a two-month officers’ course while training in Jordan has been suspended.

In the future stage, the Palestinian official told the Middle East Newsline, Lt. Gen. Dayton, in his post since 2007, would be marginalized. Lt. Gen. Dayton’s staff has already been restricted to coordination with the Interior Ministry and was no longer involved in direct training or planning.

“Dayton’s role would be limited to bringing money and equipment for the security forces,” the official said. “He would not deal with PA operations or deployment.”

Earlier in the year, Lt. Gen. Dayton’s staff was expelled from the Interior Ministry’s Strategic Planning Department. Dayton’s staff was also said to have been racked by internal disputes, and in February the general replaced his British deputy director.

See this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this report at Israel Behind the News

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