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Cracking Down – PA Style

The Death Squad may be no more.

 

No, I am not speaking about some bad Chuck Norris movie, but rather a band of PLO Arabs formed to crack down on terrorists and criminals, but whose members were themselves involved in crime, violence, and intimidation against the general public.

 

Kind of like the PA actually.

 

Here’s the story:

The Palestinian Authority said Saturday it will disband a small Gaza security force tainted by accusations of abuse and feared by civilians, in an initial step toward reforming the PA’s network of overlapping and competing security forces. 

 

As part of an effort to restore confidence in a Palestinian leadership long accused of corruption, the head of the Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Service, Brig. Gen. Rashid Abu Shbak, said Saturday he would abolish the unit – nicknamed the “death squad” by Palestinians – in the wake of accusations that some of its members abused their powers and used intimidation to rule the streets of Gaza.

 

Abu Shbak said the 70 members of the force had been “re-assigned” to various Palestinian security services units.

 

“We are facing a new phase and we must say farewell to chaos and to all those who cause it in the Palestinian street,” Abu Shbak told reporters in Gaza City. “We must clear the air of past mistakes of the previous era.”

 

The 70-person unit was formed more than a year ago to crack down on militant groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and to track and arrest high-profile criminals in Gaza. The unit commanded a heavy presence on the streets and had waged numerous gunfights with rival factions, including militants, when sent to arrest them.

 

But some members of the unit were accused of turning into criminals themselves, confiscating land, smuggling weapons and intimidating the general public with threats of violence.

 

The decision on the unit’s decommissioning was made after Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip protested that the Death Squad was used primarily against Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

 

Khalil Abu Shammala, director of the Ad-Dameer Association for Human Rights in Gaza, said the dismantling of the death squad was “a positive step,” but called for members to be put on trial.

 

“Some of the force committed crimes, caused horror to civilians and were involved in some fighting in which some people were killed,” he said.

In other words, the PA deals with this group of thugs by incorporating them into the security services. (They also intend on dealing with the terrorist groups the same way – incorporate them into the government, rather than crack down on them). With this approach, the chances for a stable PLO Arab society, at peace with Israel, are nil.

 

Update: Natan Sharansky argues that the peace process must be linked to real democracy and human rights in the PA territories.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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