Changing the Guard, But the Occupation Goes on (West Bank-Security (Part II)) - Ed Blanche

Changing the Guard, But the Occupation Goes on (West Bank-Security (Part II))

By Ed Blanche

  • Release Date - Published: 2011-01-08
  • Book Genre: Reference
  • Author: Ed Blanche
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Changing the Guard, But the Occupation Goes on (West Bank-Security (Part II)) Ed Blanche read online review & book description:

Reform of the Palestinians' security apparatus had been a key demand since the Oslo Accords of 1993-94, but President Yasser Arafat, fearful of losing his power, resisted, along with his Old Guard. However, reforms finally got under way in January 2005 when Mahmoud Abbas, a longtime Fatah apparatchik and Arafat sidekick, became Palestinian Authority (PA) president following Arafat's death. The reforms met heavy resistance from the security chieftains who also faced a loss of power. Arafat's Old Guard had turned the security sector into a clan patronage system, providing jobs for kinsmen, many of whom were not even required to turn up for work. The Israelis were not convinced the Palestinians could seriously crack down on hardliners, such as Hamas, who were committed to violent resistance of the occupation. It was not until June 2007, when the Islamists took over in the Gaza Strip that Israel and the international community saw the need to rebuild the Palestinians' myriad security apparatus, if only to contain the Islamist militants, now aided by Syria and Iran. Abbas inherited a sprawling jumble of separate services and agencies, many with overlapping responsibilities and accountable only to Arafat himself. These had become fiefdoms for politically ambitious security chiefs who built independent power bases for themselves. The most prominent of these were Mohammed Dahlan, the head of the Preventive Security Service in Gaza in 1994-2002 who had long eyed Arafat's throne, and Jibril Rajoub, the former Preventive Security chief in the West Bank, and Dahlan's political rival. Both these younger generation figures were closely linked to the Americans. Dahlan, in particular, developed close ties with the Israeli security establishment and was often seen being entertained by senior officers in the fleshpots of Tel Aviv.

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