(JNS.org) The Palestinian Authority (PA) and its security forces have thwarted 200 attacks against Israelis since October 2015, Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj—head of the PA’s General Intelligence Service—said in an interview with Defense News.
Faraj said he believes that security cooperation with Israel is the only way to fight extremist terror groups such as Islamic State, and to prevent a collapse of PA rule in the disputed Palestinian territories.
“We, together with our counterparts in the Israeli security establishment, with the Americans and others, are all trying to prevent that collapse. The experts all know that in case of collapse, everybody will get hurt ..They’re already in Iraq, Syria, Sinai, Lebanon and Jordan, but Ramallah, Amman and Tel Aviv must remain immune from them,” Faraj said.
“We are sure that violence, radicalization, and terrorism will hurt us. It won’t bring us closer to achieving our dream of a Palestinian state,” he added.
Faraj estimates that more than 90 percent of Palestinians reject the extremist beliefs of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and the Nusra Front, largely attributing that sentiment to the efforts of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Now, the number of Palestinians supporting [those terror groups] is very marginal, and this is a success of Abu Mazen (Abbas). He changed the culture,” Faraj said. “But if Daesh (Islamic State) or other extremist groups decide to fight Israel, they will find sympathy in the Arab street….Daesh is on our border, they are here with their ideology, and they are looking to find a suitable platform to establish their base. Therefore, we must prevent a collapse here, because the alternative is anarchy, violence, and terrorism.”
Faraj said he hopes the PA’s quest to maintain a “bridge against radicalization and violence” will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.