update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Israeli MK: Palestinians building a professional army under our nose

"They are just waiting for the correct moment to strike at the rest of the Israeli populace," said Limor Son Har-Melech.

Knesset Member for the Otzma Yehudit Party Limor Son Har Melech, Nov. 14, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Knesset Member for the Otzma Yehudit Party Limor Son Har Melech, Nov. 14, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Knesset member Limor Son Har-Melech said on Tuesday that “foreign countries,” and in particular Pakistan, were developing a Palestinian army.

“This army is being trained in foreign countries, is practiced, and armed, and plans to continue the atrocities that were carried out by Hamas on October 7th. They are just waiting for the correct moment to strike at the rest of the Israeli populace,” she told the Knesset plenum.

Son Har Hamelech quoted a joint investigation by HaKol HaYehudi and the Struggle for Every Dunam organizations claiming members of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces are being sent to Pakistani military academies to receive professional military training that will enable them to serve as officers in a Palestinian army currently being built in Judea and Samaria.

The investigation shows that in recent years, many members of the P.A. security forces have completed a two-year military training program in Pakistan. The program includes training on artillery, sniper rifles, machine guns, parachuting and more. 

The investigation further uncovered that many members of the P.A. forces sent to Pakistan for this training are verified terror supporters and come from cities and villages with established terror cells such as Jenin, Tulkarem, Ramallah and Nablus. Many of these forces have documented their training and openly stated their ultimate intentions.

The Pakistani army has been open about the goals of the training, as well. Just two weeks after the Oct. 7 massacre, the Pakistani Army’s official Twitter account announced that six P.A. officers had completed their military training in the country. The post went on to state that Pakistani support for Palestine goes beyond words and includes “training and preparation.”

The training program for P.A. security forces in Pakistan is in addition to programs in other countries such as Jordan, Russia, Algeria, Sudan, Bangladesh and most recently Indonesia, which just granted scholarships to 22 P.A. cadets. At the same time, the training in Pakistan is unique as Pakistan is the only nuclear power in the group and is openly and explicitly hostile to Israel.

Another important aspect of the training programs is they foster connections between P.A. security forces and potential future military leaders in these foreign countries.

While the P.A. does not currently have tanks or heavy armor, the Oct. 7 attacks demonstrated the damage that can be caused with just shoulder-fired missiles, machine guns and mortars.

Judea and Samaria are also flooded with illegal weapons, and this combined with the new capabilities obtained by P.A. security forces in Pakistan presents a clear and present danger to Israeli security.

The second danger of this foreign military training is political. These trainings suggest that the P.A. is preparing tens of thousands of operatives to serve in a future Palestinian army if a Palestinian state is ever recognized.

During the investigation, HaKol HaYehudi inquired with the IDF Central Command, which seemingly was completely unaware of the Pakistani training programs and had no plans to address them. Senior diplomatic officials and politicians said they were shocked by the findings. The IDF and Israel Security Agency spokespersons refused to comment on the issue, making it unclear if Israeli Military Intelligence or the ISA were aware of the situation. 

Adding fuel to the fire, P.A. official Mahmoud al-Habbash warned earlier this week that the Oct. 7 massacre could be “repeated 100 times” if the Palestinian issue isn’t resolved based on international legitimacy and U.N. resolutions. His statement followed a U.N. General Assembly resolution granting Palestinians new rights as a non-member observer state earlier this month. 

The Regavim Movement also recently issued a worrying report that revealed that nearly 80 U.S.-trained P.A. security officers were involved in terrorist activities against Israelis from 2021 to 2023. The study, based on official “martyrdom proclamations” from the P.A., detailed numerous instances of P.A. officers using Western-supplied weapons against Israel. During this period, 44 officers were killed during attacks, seven were injured and 25 were arrested on terrorism charges. 

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