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Nov
2016

Have Some of the Palestinian Security Forces Gone Rogue?


Palestinian Forces policeman, Muhammad Turkman, with his AK-47 assault rifle (Palestinian Press Agency)

Palestinian Forces policeman, Muhammad Turkman, with his AK-47 assault rifle (Palestinian Press Agency)

On October 31, 2016, another attack was carried out by a Palestinian Security Services officer at an IDF checkpoint. Three IDF soldiers were wounded; the Palestinian officer Muhammed Turkman was killed.

Previous attacks occurred at the Hizma checkpoint adjacent to Jerusalem. The latest attack took place at the Ramallah District Coordination Office (DCO) checkpoint, a passage that oversees a road that is the Palestinian Authority’s Muqata (headquarters) lifeline. This checkpoint is the only one that serves senior PA officials and foreign diplomats as a gateway to and from Ramallah. The other checkpoints in the area (such as Qalandia and Beitunia) suffer from congestion and are off limits to PA officials. Practically, this means that the DCO checkpoint’s closure will amount to the disconnecting of the Muqata from the outside world, which may be the specific intention of those who perpetrated the attack.

The Palestinian Authority encourages incitement against cooperation with Israel while simultaneously stating that it is interested in continuing security cooperation. The PA cannot have its cake and eat it too.

Palestinian Security forces officers are portrayed in Palestinian Authority’s social media and by Fatah as traitors. It is only natural that these uniformed men try to regain their lost honor through terrorist attacks.

Additionally, the shortage of Palestinian security officials is further aggravated by the unceasing clashes between security officials and members of Fatah’s Tanzim branch in Samaria.  PA security officials are recruited to defend their homeland and not to shoot their Tanzim brethren along the way.

The governor of Nablus (Shechem), an epicenter of such conflict between PA security forces and Fatah Tanzim operatives, was forced on October 31, 1916, to extract his forces from the large Balata refugee camp. He then published a message praising the camp’s efforts against Israel in the second Intifada. The governor would not have done so had it not been for the sense of indignation felt by his men in the wake of the fighting between them and Fatah throughout Samaria, and it is no coincidence that the perpetrator of the Ramallah OCD attack came from the problematic town of Qabatiya (located next to Jenin).

About Pinhas Inbari

Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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