Why is it important?

The United States provides security assistance to the Palestinian Authority through the office of the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) in Jerusalem, which is run by a three star flag officer and is tasked with training and equipping the Palestinian Authority Security Forces. This vital mission not only works to professionalize the PASF, but also acts as a necessary interlocutor in ensuring the continuation of security coordination between Israel and the PA. This security coordination and the enormous strides that the PASF have made in transitioning from a group of Fatah militias to a professional intelligence, police, and gendarmerie force are one of the biggest factors behind the relative quiet that reigns in the West Bank as compared to the rockets, mortars, and terror that emanates from Gaza.

The security assistance funding has been frozen by the White House as part of its indefinite review of all funding to the West Bank and Gaza, and releasing the funds while continuing to fund the USSC at its current levels ($35 million in FY 2017) is one of the best ways to prevent the West Bank from turning into Gaza.

Watch: United States Security Coordinator Lt. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim

WATCH: Palestinian Security Forces Reflect Promise of Future State

The National Interest:

How America Succeeded in Securing the Palestinian Authority

Today the Palestinian security forces are a pillar of stability in the West Bank and have helped prevent the chaos of the Arab Spring, the rise of Islamic State and other threats. They also coordinate with Israel and Jordan and have helped ensure that—despite the numerous crises between Jerusalem and Ramallah, which is where the PA government institutions are located—relative peace continues. As Israel approaches its seventieth independence celebrations and the U.S. embassy is scheduled to move to Jerusalem, it is prudent to note that the model of the Palestinian security forces is one that the United States has adopted in partnerships with Iraq, Syria, Niger, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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Lieberman: Security Cooperation Crucial for Both Sides

“Security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians is in (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud) Abbas’s interest no less than ours, if not more. He is still alive because of (it),” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Friday, scorning the Palestinian leader over his criticism of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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New York Review of Books: Our Man in Palestine