July 30, 2008

V. The Role of International Donors

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank have enjoyed extensive support from the US and EU Member States, as well as from some Arab states.[170]

In October 2007, for example, the PalestinianAcademy for Security Sciences (PASS) opened in the town of Jericho with substantial foreign funding. The academy selected its first class of nearly 150 officers, two of them women, from the various forces, including Preventive Security and the GIS, "for their professionalism and for their loyalty to" President Abbas.[171] Modeled after similar institutions in Jordan, Qatar and Egypt, the academy is an integral part of Abbas's security plan to combat Hamas and other Islamic militants, with training in a broad range of fields, including military tactics, information technology, crisis management, political parties and movements, security investigations, anti-terrorism, human rights and Hebrew language.[172] Nearly $2 million in funding for the academy came from Arab states-including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-EU Member States, Turkey, and Malaysia.[173] The United States provided what a report from Voice of America radio called "indirect support" to PASS[174] and earmarked funds for three other training centers in Jericho.[175]According to the academy's website, the school is "part of Abbas's new security plan to keep the Islamic militants on the defensive, and to reassure Israel and the US that he's strong enough to carry out a peace deal."[176]

Since January 2006, the European Union has supported the criminal justice system and the Palestinian Civil Police, commanded since early April 2008 by Maj. Gen. Hazem Atallah, which appears to be the least abusive force in the West Bank. The EU funds a multi-million euro project called EU Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support, or EUPOL COPPS, which advises and assists the civil police, coordinates international assistance to the police and gives advice on police-related criminal justice matters.[177] The program is based on the Palestinian Civil Police Development Program 2005-2008, whose objective is to establish a "transparent and accountable police organization with a clearly identified role, operating within a sound legal framework, capable of delivering an effective and robust policing service, responsive to the needs of the society and able to manage effectively its human and physical resources."[178] In June 2008, the civil police opened three new police stations in the West Bank, including a station in the area of Qalqilya financed by EUPOL COPPS.[179]

From September 2007 to late May 2008, the EUPOL COPPS program facilitated the training of 509 members of the civil police's public order unit-more than half of the 878-man unit. The rest of the unit is expected to complete its training by July 2008. According to EU COPPS, the training includes, among other subjects, "human rights, proportionate response to force, community service, communication skills, crowd control, crisis management, maneuvering skills, defensive techniques and first aid."[180] The project spokesman told Human Rights Watch that the training is "based on the proportionate use of force, the idea of containing violence and in general the ethics of the course is that the police should serve the citizen."[181] In the future, the program is planning to work on prison infrastructure and to help develop a legal framework for the police, he said.

The United States, in contrast, is supporting more specialized forces for national security and counterterrorism to act as a counterweight to Hamas. According to media reports, in mid-2006 the US government conducted two-week training courses for Abbas's Presidential Guard, limiting the program to officers directly responsible for the personal security of Abbas and his VIP guests. The US Secret Service instructed the officers in counterterrorism techniques to include airport and event security planning.[182] Also in 2006, staff from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv reportedly instructed 60 Presidential Guard officers in securing vehicles and sites against bomb threats and suspect devices.[183]

At the end of 2006, as relations between Fatah and Hamas worsened, the US government promised $86.4 million for security forces loyal to President Abbas. The money was meant to help the president "[d]ismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and establish law and order in the West Bank and Gaza," according to a US government document obtained by Reuters.[184] US Middle East Security Coordinator Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the document said, would implement the program "to strengthen and reform elements of the Palestinian security sector controlled by the PA presidency."[185] Apparently intended for Abbas's Presidential Guard, the money was blocked by members of the US Congress who feared the aid would be used against Israel.[186] In April 2007, Congress approved $59.4 million for non-lethal aid to train Palestinian security forces, including equipment for the Presidential Guard, and training in Jordan.[187] It remains unclear whether the US is providing any aid or assistance to Preventive Security or the GIS, who are implicated in most of the West Bank abuses documented in this report.

According to media reports, the Israeli government has placed significant restrictions on the extent of training, aid and equipment from the US and other sources, afraid that Palestinian forces will turn against Israel itself.[188]

The US-backed training held at the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC), run by American contractors and Jordanian forces, began in January 2008.[189] The 1,400-hour curriculum focuses on counterterrorism tactics and includes lessons in first aid, firearms, urban and rural small-unit tactics, patrol techniques, crime scene investigations, human rights law, and telecommunications.[190] The program reportedly is fraught with problems, mainly a lack of equipment and insufficient preparation by trainers.[191]

Questions about the human rights component of the Jordan training submitted by Human Rights Watch to Lt. Gen. Dayton's office on June 20, 2008, have to date gone unanswered.

In April 2008, 430 members of the Presidential Guard, commanded by Col. Munir al-Zuabi, completed their training and were deployed in Jenin.[192] Another 650 members of the National Security Forces completed a 16-week course in May 2008, and also went to Jenin, as a test case to see if Palestinian forces are able secure law and order.[193] The State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security also has conducted training for the Presidential Guard.[194]

The amount of US aid for 2008 remains unclear but one senior official said it would exceed $500 million. "Next year alone, the United States will provide more than half a billion dollars to the Palestinians to help them build the institutions and security forces of their future state," US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said in November 2007. "General Keith Dayton of the United States Army is on the ground to assist in this effort."[195] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a different figure in June 2008, saying, on top of $86 million provided so far to "train and equip the national security forces," the US government had "requested $100 million more from Congress for fiscal years 2008 and 2009" for the security sector.[196]

On June 20, Human Rights Watch asked Lt. Gen. Dayton to provide information about his programs, including the roles the various forces would have in the security sector, and the efforts the US was undertaking to reduce arbitrary arrests, torture and due process violations by those forces. As of July 10, Lt. Gen. Dayton had not replied.

The training of the West Bank security forces is part of a multi-billion dollar U.S and international effort to strengthen and transform the security sector-constructing new chains of command, replacing equipment, rebuilding bases, creating institutions to monitor performance, and extending law and order-and to provide the economic and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian leaders in the West Bank to better meet their Roadmap obligations.[197] To achieve these goals, donor states have formed the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), chaired by Norway, which held a donors' conference in Paris in December 2007, with subsequent meetings in New York, London and Berlin. The stated purpose of the AHLC is to "assist the Palestinians in establishing a sustainable, democratic state," which the donors view as essential for a two-state solution to the conflict.[198] In Paris, donor states pledged $7.7 billion, including $230 million for security purposes.[199]

At the London meeting on May 2, 2008, the AHLC reaffirmed its commitment "to boost economic growth and create functioning institutions to serve as a solid foundation for a Palestinian state."It called on Israel to lift its restrictions on access and movement for Palestinians as a necessary condition for improving the economy. In addition, the PA-meaning the West Bank authorities-had to "implement its reform and development plans with a view to actively continuing to improve governance, strengthen Palestinian institutions, and particularly improve the security environment."[200]

On June 24, more than 40 senior officials from EU member states, the United Nations, the Arab League, the United States and elsewhere joined Palestinian and Israeli officials in Berlin for a conference to support the Palestinian civil police and rule of law in the West Bank. Donors committed $242 million for security projects, such as more police training, a forensic lab,[201] and the reconstruction of prisons and courthouses.[202]

"Security and the rule of law represent the foundations of any successful, responsible state, and such institutions will better enable the Palestinians to fight terrorism, maintain law and order, and provide opportunity for their people," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at the conference. She continued: "We're pleased that the PA's leadership recognizes the importance of coupling a strong security apparatus with transparent and fair institutions of governance."[203]

Following the conference, the Quartet expressed its support for the commitments as an important step in the creation of a viable Palestinian state. "Palestinian security performance has improved, including recent efforts in Jenin," a Quartet statement said, referring to the recent deployment of newly trained Palestinian forces in the northern city. "Continued Palestinian efforts to fight terrorism and to implement a more comprehensive security strategy are necessary for sustainable long-term improvement."[204]

The statement is consistent with the continued failure by foreign donors of West Bank security forces to publicly criticize serious human rights abuses by the forces they support, such as torture and arbitrary detentions. On the contrary, the consistent political message has been to aggressively combat Hamas. Rather than implicitly endorse these abuses, foreign donors should condition their aid to West Bank security forces on concrete and verifiable steps to eliminate them.

Aid to the Hamas authorities in Gaza is a similar concern, although little is known about how much is given and by whom. According to Israel and the United States, Hamas receives aid for its security forces from Syria and Iran.[205] Fatah officials have also spoken about Iran's support for Hamas,[206] and Iran publicly offered assistance to the Hamas-run government in 2006.[207] If these countries do support the security forces in Gaza, then to avoid complicity they should condition their aid on concrete and verifiable steps to reduce the serious human rights violations documented in this report. The same holds for any government that provides aid to the security forces in Gaza today. Governments that have supported Hamas politically, such as Iran, should publicly condemn Hamas's abuses and press their apparent ally to reform.

[170] According to one media report, the US government began arming Fatah forces after Hamas's January 2006 electoral victory. See David Rose, "The Gaza Bombshell," Vanity Fair, April 2008, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804 (accessed July 4, 2008).

[171] Jim Teeple, "Palestinian Academy Prepares Future Security Force," VOANews.com, January 7, 2008, http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-01/2007-Palestinian-Police-Academy.cfm (accessed June 23, 2008).

[172]PalestinianSecuritySciencesAcademy website, http://www.pass.ps/site/index.php?action=showpage&pageID=91&lang=en (accessed June 23, 2008).

[173] Jim Teeple, "PalestinianAcademy Prepares Future Security Force," VOANews.com, January 7, 2008, and Joshua Mitnick, "Policing the Police," Jewish Week, November 7, 2007.

[174] Jim Teeple, "PalestinianAcademy Prepares Future Security Force."

[175] Karin Laub, "Palestinian Officers' School Opened," Associated Press, October 31, 2007.

[176] "Palestinian Officers' School Opened," November 4, 2007, PalestinianAcademy for Security Sciences website, http://www.pass.ps/site/index.php?action=shownew&newsID=12&lang=en (accessed May 18, 2008).

[177] According to EU COPPS, the first year of operations, 2006, cost 6.1 million euro. "European Union Police Mission for the PalestinianTerritories," EU Council Secretariat Factsheet, January 2006, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/palestinian_territories_fact_sheet_/palestinian_territories_fact_sheet_en.pdf (accessed May 28, 2008).

[178]"European Union Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EU COPPS) and Palestinian Civil Police Development Programme 2005-2008." EU COPPS Fact Sheet, http://www.consilium.eu.int/uedocs/cmsUpload/EUCOPPShandoutFeb2006.pdf, (access June 16, 2008).

[179] Yaakov Lappin, "3 Palestinian Police Stations Open," Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2008.

[180] "8th Public Order Training at Jericho Training Centre," EUPOL COPPS press release, May 20, 2008, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/20080520-Press_release.pdf (accessed June 16, 2008).

[181] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Jose Vericat, EUPOL COPPS spokesman, June 17, 2008.

[182] Matthew Kalman, "U.S. Training Fatah in Anti-terror Tactics," San Francisco Chronicle, December 14, 2006.

[183] Ibid.

[184] Adam Entous, "U.S. to Give Abbas Forces $86 Mln Amid Power Struggle," Reuters, January 5, 2007.

[185] Ibid.

[186] In November 2007, Israel confiscated dozens of sets of body armor donated to the Presidential Guard because the delivery had not been coordinated with Israeli authorities. As of May 2008, Israel had not returned the equipment. Isabel Kershner, "Palestinians Seek Support from Rice on Borders," New York Times, May 4, 2008.

[187] Adam Entous, "Forces Loyal to Abbas Get Newer Bases, Training," Reuters, April 12, 2007.

[188]Alastair Macdonald, "Palestinian Police Chafe at Israeli Restrictions," Reuters, June 23, 2008 and Ellen Knickmeyer and Glenn Kessler, "Palestinian Forces' Training Marred by Delays, Politics," Washington Post, March 15, 2008.

[189] The JIPTIC is located outside of the Jordanian capital city, Amman, and formerly housed the US-backed Iraqi police training program. The curriculum was designed by a US contractor in Florida based on specifications written by Lt. Gen. Dayton and his staff. The PA officers receive 12 to 14 hours of instruction a day for four months. Steven Smith "Too Little, Too Late; Palestinian Police Training," International Herald Tribune, May 20, 2008.   

[190] "U.S. General Addresses Palestinian Police Graduation Ceremony in Jordan," Financial Times, May 28, 2008; Steven Smith, "Too Little, Too Late; Palestinian Police Training."

[191] According to media reports, many of the Jordanian instructors did not have the expertise, equipment or requisite amount of teaching time to properly train the officers. Vehicles, two-way radios, dummy pistols, rifles and batons arrived too late for the first training sessions and Israel placed restrictions on the type of equipment and curriculum available to the forces. Steven Smith, "Too Little, Too Late; Palestinian Police Training,"; Griff Witte and Ellen Knickmeyer, "Palestinian Recruits Hit Streets Unprepared," Washington Post, May 3, 2008.

[192] Griff Witte and Ellen Knickmeyer, "Palestinian Recruits Hit Streets Unprepared."

[193] Ellen Knickmeyer and Glenn Kessler, "Palestinian Forces' Training Marred by Delays, Politics," and Yaakov Katz, "New PA Battalion to Deploy in W. Bank," Jerusalem Post, May 28, 2008.

[194] "Gaza Discord and its Implications," Statement by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch, House Foreign Affairs Middle East and South Asia SubCommittee, March 12, 2007, http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/wel031208.htm (accessed June 16, 2008).

[195] "Remarks on the Middle East and Freedom Agenda by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley," November 28, 2007, John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/uploads/images/UAmXjRuSsve_J5oA2m8gWQ/Hadley.pdf (accessed June 23, 2008).

[196] Secretary Rice Speaks at Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security, Rule of Law," US State Department Transcript, June 24, 2008, http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2008/June/20080624115822xjsnommis0.7961389.html (accessed June 27, 2008).

[197] "Chicken and Eggs; The PalestinianTerritories," The Economist-US Edition, April 26, 2008; Capitol Hill Hearing Testimony, Senate Appropriations Committee (State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee), Testimony by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Congressional Quarterly, April 9, 2008.

[198] "Norway Chairs Important Meeting on Middle East in London," Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs news story, April 30, 2008, http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/Whats-new/News/2008/ahlc_london.html?id=509590 (accessed June 16, 2008).

[199] "Chicken and Eggs; The PalestinianTerritories," The Economist-US Edition.

[200] "Meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee," Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 2, 2008, http://www.norway.org.ps/policy/AHLC+-+Chair%E2%80%99s+Summary.htm (accessed June 16, 2008).

[201]Israel destroyed both forensic facilities in the West Bank and Gaza after the second Intifada. ("Project Proposals 2008," EUPOL COPPS, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/BOOKLET_cover.pdf (accessed June 23, 2008).)

[202] Geir Moulson, "Conference Secures US$242 Million Commitment to Strengthen Palestinian Police and Courts," Associated Press, June 24, 2008.

[203] Secretary Rice Speaks at Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security, Rule of Law," US State Department Transcript, June 24, 2008.

[204] Quartet Statement, June 24, 2008, http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/middle_east/quartet-24jun2008.htm (accessed June 27, 2008).

[205] "Israel Cites Iran, Syria, and Hamas as New "Axis of Terror," International Herald Tribune, April 18, 2006, http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/18/news/web.0418un.php (accessed July 4, 2008) and "Cheney: Syria and Iran Helping Hamas Torpedo Peace Process," March 26, 2008, Haaretz, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/967627.html (accessed July 4, 2008).

[206] "Palestinian Official: Iran Training, Funding Hamas Militants," Associated Press, June 24, 2007.

[207] "Iran Offers Hamas Financial Aid," BBC, February 22, 2006.