U.S. assistance to the fledgling Palestinian Authority military puts Israel in a precarious position despite congressional limits on aid to the PA, according to an investigative report released this week by the Center for Near East Policy Research (NEPR). The Congress had intended the limits to prevent the aid from undermining Israel's security.
Journalist David Bedein, head of the Jerusalem branch of the NEPR, told Israel National News Sunday that the U.S. gives Fatah-affiliated PA forces training and military equipment, while at the same time the Fatah-led PA attempts to reconcile with Hamas, which the U.S. recognizes as a terrorist organization.
American aid to Fatah has not caused waves in the Israeli defense establishment due to the erroneous assumption that Fatah will fight terrorism, Bedein continued. “There was an idea that Fatah would be fighting Hamas and reducing terrorism,” and a drop in terrorism was credited to Fatah, he said.
The NEPR's research shows that the drop in terrorism was actually the result of IDF activity in Judea and Samaria, he said.
The Risk – American Veto on Counterterror Ops
One risk of America's heavy involvement in building up PA troops is that the situation could lead to an open attempt to limit Israel's counterterror options, Bedein said. “Let's say that Israel wants to go after [Fatah] terrorists – there will be a sort of American veto, because the terrorists are affiliated with the Americans... This has extremely serious implications.”
Fatah Planning War
What the Israeli defense establishment needs to realize is that Fatah, and by extension the Fatah-led PA, is not interested in fighting radical Islamic terrorism, Bedein explained. Information and testimony from PA-controlled Arab cities in Judea and Samaria clearly shows that the PA continues to incite against Israel and plans to fight until the Jewish state is defeated, he warned. "The Fatah makes no bones about the fact that it will continue the war on Israel until the last Palestinian returns to his home in Israel from 1948.
“It's clear to anyone with eyes in his head that if Israel were to pull out its troops from, say, Beit Jalla [adjacent to Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem]... if tomorrow morning Fatah has exclusive control, then there will be firing from Beit Jalla on Gilo tomorrow morning,” he said, recalling the many shooting attacks on the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo launched by PA terrorists in the early years of the Oslo War, also known as the Second Intifada.
The full NEPR report will be available to the general public on the Israel Behind the News website on Wednesday.