By al-Carmel News – Sep 18, 2023
Why did the Israeli government agree to supply the Palestinian Authority with weapons and armored vehicles?
Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the official responsible for security coordination with the Israeli occupation, confirmed that the Palestinian Authority (PA), like the Israeli army, is unable to confront the “diffuse resistance cells” in Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm. This prompted the US side to “recognize the needs of the Authority for use [of weaponry] in incursions and clashes.” The clashes mentioned by al-Sheikh refer to confrontations with Palestinian resistance groups in the West Bank, specifically in Jenin and Nablus.
An Israeli security source further confirmed to the Maariv newspaper that “the transfer of nine armored vehicles provided by the Americans to the Palestinian Authority is clearly in Israel’s national security interests.”
What can we conclude?
The US and Israel do not object to arming the PA if the weapons are directed against resistance cells in the occupied West Bank. The existence of the Palestinian Authority is necessary for Israel as it can reach places that Israeli special units cannot. The PA is a tool that the Israeli National Security Council (the Cabinet) relies on, which explains why on July 9, 2023, the Cabinet held an emergency meeting to approve urgent assistance to save it.
This assistance relies on and mandates the performance of Mahmoud Abbas’ security apparatus to protect settlers when they wander into the occupied West Bank, to thwart resistance cells from carrying out their operations, and to arrest individuals Israel cannot reach.
To carry out this mission, the PA needs weapons, which the US provides and Israel agrees to lend or transfer, under two conditions:
- Restricting their distribution to “some Palestinian security agencies,” whose loyalty to Israel is guaranteed.
- Using them exclusively for “counterterrorism activities.”
The Israeli army made a radio broadcast on September 13, 2023, that the occupation government has agreed to transfer weapons and military equipment to the PA on a number of conditions, as part of a series of steps to support the Palestinian Authority and increase security coordination with it.
The broadcast quoted Israeli security officials as saying: “This step is part of a program of assistance to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, and is conditioned upon two things: demonstrating operational achievements by the Palestinian Authority (especially in Jenin), and the official return of security coordination with Israel.”
According to the settler media, the deal includes armored vehicles and at least 1,500 pieces of weaponry, including M-16 rifles enhanced with laser sights and Kalashnikov rifles.
The PA requested these weapons over a year ago, but Israel rejected the request. The approval has now come following the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh summits, held in February and March respectively, at the request of Washington. The goal of these summits was to develop a comprehensive strategy to “pacify” the resistance in the West Bank.
Why do we care about this news?
Israeli and US support for the PA comes in the context of arrangements that the US is making in the Arab world that seek to ensure the “integration between Israel and Arab and Muslim-majority states, as exemplified by the Abraham Accords, other normalization agreements, and the Negev Forum.”
Achieving this goal is impossible without achieving “calm” in the Palestinian territories. This “calm” means implementing all US-Israeli projects to deliver a final blow to the Palestinian cause, by turning the occupied West Bank into “Israeli land” and permanently eliminating the Right of Return.
To ensure this “calm,” Israel and the US must rely on the PA’s security agencies and support them financially and militarily.
What did the enemy say?
Although the transfer of weapons and armored vehicles to the Palestinian Authority is seen as a “clear security interest for Israel,” according to an Israeli security official, this move has provoked anger among several members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
The same day as the radio broadcast announcing the transfer of weapons to the PA, the newspaper Israel Hayom revealed what it described as “shocking details” from the Cabinet meeting held the previous day. It stated that Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, presented a report during the session regarding the supply of weapons and equipment to the PA. When asked who had approved this, officials from the security department responded that this decision had been approved in January 2022. “I have no knowledge of this,” Netanyahu stated during the session, and Defense Minister Galant added that “I have no connection to this; this was not my decision.”
The transfer of weapons to the PA reportedly infuriated Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who “was unaware of the transfer of weapons and armored vehicles to the Authority, and a special session regarding the delivery of weapons to the Palestinian Authority was held without his knowledge,” according to Hebrew Channel Seven.
“Mr. Prime Minister, there will be consequences if you do not state clearly that the news about the transfer of weapons to the terrorist Palestinian Authority is false,” Ben Gvir said in a tweet on his official X (Twitter) account. “If, however, you intend to subvert the Oslo 2 government, inform your minister and the public, and we will act accordingly.”
Following the reactions from his fellow right-wing Israeli ministers, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant quickly distanced himself from responsibility and issued a statement: “Since taking office as Minister of Defense, I have not approved or transferred weapons or equipment to the Palestinian Authority, and any statement to the contrary is a blatant lie.”
Netanyahu’s office justified this move as “a remnant of a decision made during the days of former Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett.” Netanyahu also appeared in a video in which he said, “We transferred some armored vehicles to the Palestinian Authority to replace other outdated armored vehicles. That’s what we did—no shields, no tanks, no Kalashnikov rifles, nothing. So, it’s good to expose this lie.”
When did the weapons arrive?
The weapons and armored vehicles were transported last week from US bases in Jordan via the Allenby Bridge. According to Palestinian officials who spoke to the Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom, on September 7, the PA received one armored vehicle, delivered over land from Jordan, as well as detection dogs, various types of equipment and weapons such as explosives, and crowd dispersal equipment, including flashbang grenades and tear gas.
According to a report made by the Al-Quds newspaper on September 12, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas chaired several meetings at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah over the past two weeks. During these meetings, he called for a firm crackdown on armed cells, as they work to weaken the PA and present it as powerless to both the US and European sides; all the while, the PA continues to arrest young men and fighters in the West Bank for carrying out resistance operations against the colonial occupation.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/November 28, 2023
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