Cops by day, terrorists by night

The PA security forces’ double role

Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas stand at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on March 15, 2020. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas stand at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on March 15, 2020. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is the director of the Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; a senior legal analyst for Human Rights Voices; and a member of the Israel Defense and Security Forum.

When U.S. President Joe Biden announced that his administration would be renewing financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, he probably thought he was promoting peace. A new video released by P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party destroyed that illusion. It reiterated that the U.S.-trained and funded P.A. security forces have a double role: cops by day and terrorists by night.

In a post on its official Facebook page, Fatah referred to security force terrorists who have been arrested as “heroic prisoners” and to those killed as “martyrs,” finishing the post with the symbol of a heart.

In the video linked to the post, Fatah glorified four members of the P.A. security forces arrested or killed during gun battles with Israeli counter-terror forces. Besides glorifying the arrested and killed terrorists, the video applauded the fugitive father of terrorist Ra’ad Hazem, who murdered three in a terror attack in Tel Aviv. The father holds the rank of colonel in the P.A. security forces.

In the video, Fatah showed images of the following terrorists, specifically noting the rank they hold in the P.A. security forces:

1. “Heroic prisoner Major Muhammad Al-Tubasi”: Al-Tubasi is suspected of shooting at Israeli soldiers near Jenin on May 13, 2022, in an attack in which Israeli police officer Noam Raz was murdered.

2. “Heroic martyr Lieutenant Colonel Daoud Zubeidi”: Zubeidi, who participated in the same attack, died of his wounds two days later.

3. “The school of the security forces, Colonel Fathi Hazem ‘Abu Ra’ad’ ”: Fathi Hazem is the father of Ra’ad Hazem.

4. “Heroic martyr Captain Tayseer Ayaseh.”

5. “Heroic martyr First Lieutenant Adham Aliwi”: Ayaseh and Aliwi were shot while firing at Israeli undercover forces on June 21, 2022.

While the photos of the terrorists were shown on screen, the following song was played in the background:

When the land calls its men, it will meet us as shining swords.

For its sake that which is precious is insignificant, and we will not bow before anyone other than the creator.

O my land, how the martyrs engraved their names on your mountain rocks.

O my land, how the poets composed their poems about the steadfastness of your men.

An additional Fatah Facebook post was dedicated solely to the first of the terrorists included in the video—Muhammad Al-Tubasi.

According to the post, Al-Tubasi is a released terrorist who has two terrorist brothers who were killed and a third brother—Said Al-Tubasi—who is serving 31 life sentences for orchestrating two car bomb attacks in which 31 people were murdered.

The text reads: “Muhammad Al-Tubasi, a hero of the Fatah movement and the Palestinian [P.A.] security establishment, is a released prisoner who was imprisoned for eight years. Two of his brothers are martyrs, and he has a brother who was sentenced to 800 years [i.e., Said Al-Tubasi]. He was arrested this morning [May 24, 2022]. The occupation’s media ‘accuses’ him of the death of a Zionist officer a week ago in Jenin.”

The active participation of the P.A. security forces in acts of terror is nothing new. It is well known and, as exposed by Palestinian Media Watch, often cited as a source of pride by Fatah members.

Bragging on official P.A. TV about Fatah’s participation in terror, Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub recently asserted:  “12% of the prisoners [i.e., terrorists] in the [Israeli] prisons are members of the [P.A.] security [forces]. 12% of the total are security members. So, no one should lecture Fatah or its institutions.”

Since there were approximately 5,000 Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons at the time of Rajoub’s statement, this means that no fewer than 600 members of the P.A. security forces have been arrested for their direct participation in acts of terror. 

Rajoub is not the first Fatah member to brag about the participation of the security forces in terror. In 2009, speaking just days before Israel approved the transfer of 1,000 AK-47 assault rifles to the security forces, who were being trained at the time by American Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, the former P.A. Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ashraf Al-Ajrami claimed: “These [Palestinian Authority security] forces paid the heavy price in the second intifada (i.e., the 2000-2005 P.A. terror campaign), both as shahids [martyrs] and as prisoners.”

“The greatest number of prisoners are from the security forces sector,” he revealed. “They are the ones who bore arms and carried out the greatest and most important operations [terror attacks] against the Israeli occupation—and especially against soldiers—and some of the most famous operations [terror attacks] in the West Bank: Ein-Arik, Wadi Al-Haramiyeh, Sorda and others.”

“These were carried out by the heroes of the Palestinian security forces,” proclaimed Al-Ajrami, “who protected the homeland and the national interest, while Hamas merely looked on for many months before embarking [on terrorist attacks].”

Reconsider U.S. aid to the P.A. security forces

Announcing the renewal of American aid to the P.A., U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was also “resuming vital security assistance programs.”

A statement published on the website of the U.S. State Department quoted Secretary Blinken saying that the funds allocated in May of 2021 came “in addition to the more than $250 million in economic, development, security and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people announced in March and April, bringing planned U.S. assistance to more than $360 million.”

The statement further clarified the goals the Biden administration sought to achieve via the aid: “U.S. foreign assistance for the Palestinian people serves important U.S. interests and values. It provides critical relief to those in great need, fosters economic development and supports Israeli-Palestinian understanding, security coordination and stability. It also aligns with the values and interests of our allies and partners.”

A “fact sheet” issued by the State Department in March 2022 added: “The U.S. government plans to provide an additional $75 million in economic assistance to the Palestinian people this year. Additionally, the United States is also providing $45 million for programs to support the security sector including important improvements to the rule of law.”

While the Biden administration is sinking tens of millions of dollars into the P.A. security forces as an alleged means of achieving peace, the P.A. and Fatah appear to be openly flouting the investment, using the U.S.-trained forces as terrorists. If the Biden administration truly seeks to promote peace, it must reconsider its funding to the P.A.’s terrorist security forces.

IDF Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch is the director of legal strategies at Palestinian Media Watch.

This article was originally published by Palestinian Media Watch.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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