The US State Department officials and think tank "experts" who are always loudly talking up the so-called "security cooperation" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority must have been howling with delight when they saw Tuesday's headlines.
A gun battle between PA security forces and a Palestinian fugitive in Nablus! Gunfire between Palestinians in Ya'abad! A curfew imposed by the police!
Finally, it seemed, the "security cooperation" cheerleaders could point to evidence of the PA cracking down on Palestinian terrorists. At long last, they could silence the skeptics who have doubted the PA's commitment to fighting terror.
But all that crowing stopped when they got past the headlines.
It turns out that the Palestinian fugitive in Nablus was a criminal, not a terrorist. The PA security forces were chasing him because he had just shot into a PA policeman's home, wounding the man's wife and daughter. The gun battle in Ya'abad was not between terrorists and policemen. It was between two rival Palestinian clans. The curfew was imposed not to stop terrorism, but to calm tempers in the clans' dispute over a wedding hall.
The PA police and security forces do not use curfews or similar measures to combat terrorists. They do not chase fugitive terrorists. In fact, the areas under PA control where terrorists reside, train, and store their weapons are No-Go Zones.
The Jenin refugee camp is precisely the sort of area where the PA should be operating, if it was serious about fighting terrorism. Jenin is a notorious hotbed of terrorism. According to the BBC, Palestinians call it "the Martyrs' Capital" and at least 28 suicide bombers came from the camp during 2001-2003 alone.
Yet the PA's fabled "security cooperation" with Israel is nowhere to be found in Jenin. There the terrorists organize, plot, and prepare to launch their next murderous attacks against Israelis, without the slightest interference from Israel's "friends" in the PA security forces.
Last year, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy issued a report titled "Preserving Israeli-Palestinian Security Cooperation," which claimed that "security cooperation [between the PA and Israel] and the positive dynamics it creates are one of the few hopeful spots in an otherwise grim arena…Washington should prioritize efforts to protect and support security cooperation, and clearly convey this sense of priority to Palestinian and Israeli leaders."
That's the kind of drivel that these self-proclaimed "experts" in and around Washington have been peddling for years. That's what they push on television talk shows and in their policy papers and op-eds. That's what they tout as evidence that it would be safe to set up an independent Palestinian state next to Israel.
But as this week's murder and terror incidents demonstrate, there is no meaningful "security cooperation." The PA acts against fellow-Palestinians only in cases of internal crime, not terrorism. Those who murder Jews are not arrested, prosecuted, or jailed. On the contrary--they live and operate freely in No-Go Zones, and when they are killed, they are hailed as martyrs and heroes.
Because that's how even the "moderate" Palestinian leaders really feel.
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.