“We got a clear American message that the Palestinian state will start from Jenin,” asserted ...The plan is to have a security model that can then be implemented all over Palestine.”
And Gen. James L. Jones, special American envoy to the region said this week after visiting Jenin, said:
“I see this as a kind of dress rehearsal for statehood, a crucible where the two sides can prove things to each other.”
In a previous post I had quoted from the other American General, Keith Dayton, as saying how confident he was, echoing the words above:-
"I went to the graduations," continued Dayton, "and I'm not naive. I watched them, kinda looked them in the eyes, and I'm telling you, these are new people. Now it can all go bad if political progress doesn't happen, I guess, but these are new people. They think they're building a state, and I'm pretty pleased about that."
But is this for real? Can Israel depend on these forces?
I had raised doubts before that perhaps the desires of Rice & Co. were overreaching the capability of these new Pal. forces. I remind you of the Cordesman article where he had written:-
unless there are effective Palestinian security forces, Israel will never trust in a Palestinian state or be able to act on the quiet progress being made toward reaching a final settlement...As became all too clear on my visit to Israel, however, this American-led effort is being crippled by decisions within the State Department.
And back in May, Steve Smith had an op-ed in the Int'l Herald Tribune which everyone in the American government ignored, which is usually a sign that it is true and they don't want it discussed.
After listing all sorts of failures in training, Smith concludes, as regards the first course that was held back in January that he was
resigned over what I saw as a failed program. Other staff members are kept silent by large paychecks and a promise that they will never work for the State Department again if they speak out.
If it is true that an army fights the way it has been trained, then the young men of the Palestinian security forces are in for a tough time...they return to the West Bank to face Hamas and other organized and well-armed political and criminal gangs ill-prepared and ill-equipped.
We have been assured that things are better. At the time, I was convinced that the US was selling Israel short on its security requirements. I have not been convinced otherwise despite the upbeat notes recently being sounded.
Back then, in that first course, this was the situation Smith described:-
...frustrated Jordanian instructors abandoned the unintelligible curriculum and improvised instruction inside overcrowded classrooms and gymnasiums. Instruction in defensive tactics for hundreds of students was taught with three practice batons, a few handcuffs, and dummy pistols...students were taught radio communications without radios, driving and vehicle maintenance with no vehicles, foot-patrol tactics without weapons or radios, and mounted-patrol tactics without vehicles...students seldom had notebooks, manuals or course handouts. Moreover, fully 10 percent of the students are functional illiterates.
...Many of the Jordanian instructors were pressed into service and simply didn't have the expertise, equipment, or the time to provide good instruction...The firearms training failed to include failure drills, discretionary shooting, the use of cover and concealment and weapons cleaning. Only a few students demonstrated skill at assembling and disassembling their firearms...
The congressional investigators and journalists I saw were steered clear of any training that was substandard as well-rehearsed students put on demonstrations of police skills designed to impress laymen.
And his conclusion, then, was:-
I have little confidence in their ability to replace the Israeli Defense Forces without significant retraining with proper equipment and instruction.
It is rumoured that one of those responsible for this fiasco committed suicide by jumping off a roof in Jordan. He was of the INL (Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs) - Jim Cavalucci, according to information I of which I have become aware - and I ask anybody to please confirm or deny this. The New York Times was offered this story but declined.
My concern is quite simple: are political expediences at the root of a poorly planned American operation to falsely assure Israel that anti-Hamas PA units are in place and operable - when they are not. For if that assurance is false, and Israel places greater trust in the ability of American-trained forces to protect it and withdraws or otherwise permits the PA to assume increased roles in substituting for the IDF, and then Israelis are killed or injured, is not America at fault?
Is Condi Rice endangering Israel's security?