Thursday, December 01, 2005

  • Thursday, December 01, 2005
  • Elder of Ziyon
Once again, the oh-so-impartial BBC ignores the endemic corruption and terror that is part and parcel of the Palestinian Arab "security forces" and blames Israel for all their problems.

Any problems that are internal are described in the passive voice that we are all familiar with; but Israel's supposed role is highlighted - as if the Palestinian police would otherwise be Scotland Yard.

Also implicit is the BBC's acceptance that the role of the Pal Police Phonies is only to stop internal crime; not a word about stopping terror against Israel. That way, when Israel defends itself it is just another attack against the upstanding police - trained by the EU.

Note as well the unsubstantiated "fact" that an Israeli missile dug out a massive crater in the picture. Perhaps it did, perhaps it was a Hamas rocket gone awry, perhaps it was an attack against a known terrorist - but the BBC will never say where their "facts" come from.
With the departure of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip this summer, attention is focusing on the ability of the Palestinians to assert control in an area of increasing lawlessness.

It is a challenge beset by problems: the infrastructure of the Palestinian security forces has been decimated by Israeli attacks and the territory is awash with illicit weapons and armed groups.

The multitude of security forces themselves are in poor shape - badly-equipped with ill-defined roles, competing branches and an unreformed hierarchical structure set up under the autocratic rule of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

But after a period of stagnation and disarray, the international community has begun a drive to transform the largest of the security services, the civilian police, into a modern force capable of enforcing the rule of law and stamping out growing chaos.

At the centre of this move is the European Union, which recently announced a new three-year mission to reform and rebuild the police force in the West Bank and Gaza.

"The civil police is the cornerstone of all the Palestinian security forces," Jonathan McIvor, the head of the EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support, known as EU-Copps, told the BBC News website.

"It is a cornerstone of democracy, it's the most important of all the Palestinian security forces in terms of building a Palestinian state, not to mention the most 'together'."

Police cars and crater
A fleet of new police cars sit near a crater carved by an Israeli missile

Kaj Stendorf, chief superintendent of the Danish national police, is among the advisers training the Palestinian police.

In a parade ground outside his office in the Palestinian police headquarters in Gaza City stands a fleet of gleaming blue patrol cars, part of a 1,000-strong consignment delivered by the European mission.

Beside them lies a deep crater gouged out by an Israeli missile - a reminder of the damage from which the police have yet to recover after years of conflict.

Within its first few months, the mission - with the help of Denmark, the UK and Norway - restored the radio communication system to 60% of the Palestinian police force, after it had been decimated by Israeli attacks.

Bomb squad

One of the EU-Copps' most important functions has been to modernise and train the Palestinian police's bomb squad, or Explosive and Ordnance Disposal Unit (EODU).

The Gaza Strip is littered with deadly devices, from mines left behind by the Israeli army to explosives planted by militants and even shells dating back to WW1.

Palestinian children are often among the casualties caused by discarded explosives, prompting the UN children's charity Unicef to launch an awareness campaign....

By the end of its three-year term, Kaj says, the EU-Copps mission should benefit both sides.

"We aim to turn the Palestinian police into a modern, well-organised, well-structured, well-policed security service.

"It will provide safety not only for Palestinians, but by default Israel too."

How exactly arming known terrorists and giving them new cars and materials will help Israel is something that the BBC will have to explain a little better one day.

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