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NEWS: Palestinian Police Can't and Won't Rein In Militia

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posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 06:01 PM
Palestinian Police have admitted to being unable and unwilling to go after militants because of fear and because they also sympathize with the militants. This declaration and admittance just goes to show how difficult it will be for Palestine and Israel to maintain a terror free course on the roadmap for peace in the Middle East.
The shortcomings of Palestinian police were evident last week when officers stood by as Hamas militants fired dozens of rockets and mortar rounds at Jewish settlements in Gaza. Officers also did nothing when gunmen broke into Gaza's central jail, killing two inmates and abducting a third who was later slain.

"This is all part of the state of chaos we have been living in," said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' security adviser, Jibril Rajoub.

The poor performance is a result of years of rampant corruption, rivalries among commanders of numerous police forces set up by the late Yasser Arafat and a lack of discipline and training. After the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in 2000, the deterioration accelerated when many policemen joined the battle and Israel targeted security installations in Gaza, leaving the security forces in tatters.

Abbas must now depend largely on the good will of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups to uphold a fragile truce with Israel.

The Palestinian president has promised to clean house, and fired nine police commanders in recent days, but overhauling Gaza's 17,000-member police force will take time, Rajoub said. Palestinian legislators are considering a law to reduce the number of security services to three, with clearly defined authorities and new commanders, but passing it could take months.

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It will be a difficult process for President Abbas to gain the necessary control of his government and forces to keep his promise of peace with Israel. Palestinian police not only fear attacks by Israel, they also fear the militia, some of whom are relatives. Many are more loyal to the militias than they are to the new Palestinian authority. Peace in the region is completely in the hands of the various militias not the official government as we would like to think.

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