Palestinian Night Watchmen Stand Guard in PA’s Absence

For Alaa Tartir, program director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, the PA security apparatus was slated from the outset to serve Israeli security while being unable to protect its own people. Initially established through the Oslo Accords, Tartir told Ma’an that the agreements were not about peace, but rather consisted of security arrangements between a powerful body and a powerless one. “From its inception, the PA was inherently designed — and its doctrine was dictated — to mainly address Israeli security needs, the security of Israel as a state, and the security of the Israeli people including those who live in occupied territories. “The whole Oslo paradigm was framed within an ‘Israeli security first’ approach that forced the occupied to commit to conditions of securing the occupier. This is an expected output for skewed security arrangements that fail to address imbalances of power,” Tartir explained. “Therefore, as other scholars have also argued, it is not difficult to predict the outcome of the [security] cooperation between an elephant and a fly: dressing up domination as cooperation.” Over 20 years since Oslo, PA security forces still have no jurisdiction over Area B or C — over 80 percent of the West Bank — and continue to appease Israel’s security demands among its own population, Tartir said. “The PA, as a political organ, is not and will not be able to meet the security needs of the Palestinian people, actually the contrary, especially with the increasing authoritarian trends in its character and practices. “The inherent limitations of the Oslo Accords and the subsequent structure and mandate of the PA need to be fundamentally altered if the security of Palestine and the Palestinian people is of concern.”