Jan. 26, 2017
The Palestinian Security Force: Future Prospects
Should the United States continue to support the Palestinian Authority Security Force (PASF)? To the Western observer, the current violence in Jerusalem is but another iteration of the intractable conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. To the average American, the term Palestinian is often synonymous with a masked Arab hurling a rock at the ubiquitous Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The reality on the ground is, of course, far more complex. Unknown to most is the fact that during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, the West Bank was quiet and stable. In fact, since 2009 the PASF has received silent, grudging approval of its performance in the West Bank by Western leadership.1 The success of the PASF, like that of many nascent security forces supported by the United States, can be short-lived, especially in light of recent attacks by both Palestinians and Israelis. However, PASF performance has shown that it is a capable security force that is worthy of Israeli partnership, Palestinian trust, and further U.S. support. To substantiate this position, the development of the PASF will be briefly examined and set against its unique organization. Both its history and its distinct structure allow it to maintain order within the West Bank. The PASF will face challenges to further development if any success in a two-state solution is reached, but it remains the best hope for legitimate security for the Palestinian people.