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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'Palestinian' support for Dayton force waning

I have discussed the Dayton force - the 'Palestinian' troops trained by American General Keith Dayton (pictured) - many times, most recently here. The Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday that 'Palestinian' support for the Dayton force has been waning, as the 'Palestinians' decide they would rather have a military showdown with Israel. Marty Peretz explains.
These forces, called the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF), have been being trained under the command of Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, a much-bemedalled military intellectual and infantry-division head who has served in Russia, Germany, and Iraq. I met him about a year and a half ago in a Tel Aviv hotel. With him was one of his aides, Dov Schwartz, presumably Jewish.

Let's face it: The PASF is the only proper military force the Palestinians have. Previously, and especially under the rais, Yasir Arafat, there were 13 independent Fatah security branches made up of undisciplined, corrupt, and brutal men, each of them what my mother would call a bulvan. (This is an onomatopoeic word. Yes, you've got its meaning.) Then there were the hoodlums of the other armed gangs--some ideological, none honest. Of course, Hamas is one of them. And Hamas is the sworn foe of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

How could the PASF not be an incredible improvement? They were trained by the Jordanian army, a disciplined fighting force going back to the British. They are under the supervision of British, Canadian, and American officers. In the beginning, there was broad support for the forces. The reason is that they brought public order. Day-to-day cooperation with the Israelis "has improved dramatically." And there is no way that the IDF can be out of the loop. There are a quarter of a million Israelis in the amorphously divided West Bank. Much of the operational intelligence comes from Israel. Without it, the PASF would be lost.

In a way, this is a model, the model for the future of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. It has to be an orderly state. But order among the Palestinians has always been a dicey matter. Then, too, it's not clear just how much strength Hamas has in the area. More and more, I suspect.

Still, there are accomplishments. Schwartz says "the Palestinians have undertaken a serious and sustained effort to return the rule of law to the West Bank. People now feel safe."

But safety may not be what the Palestinians really want. They may want the ├ęclat of a Palestinian defeat of Israel. The Journal reports that there is much Hamas agitation in the West Bank. "Dayton's army serves the Jews," shouts a law student at a force officer. "There are growing signs that the local population are increasingly losing respect for the PASF." So reads an internal memo in General Dayton's headquarters.
I'm shocked. Just shocked. Especially after we were all warned that if there's a third 'intifadeh,' the Dayton forces will likely join it and attack Israel.

What could go wrong?

1 Comments:

At 12:22 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel will find itself facing a competent highly trained professional military if another intifada breaks out. All because stupid Israeli leaders valued appeasing the Palestinians over and above protecting Israel's security. But don't look for them to be hauled into the courts if Israeli soldiers die as a result of their short-sighted acquiescence to Dayton.

What could go wrong indeed

 

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