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Report: PA forces detained 40 percent of 'suspected terrorists' in W.Bank in past months

May 4, 2016 7:48 P.M. (Updated: May 5, 2016 3:51 P.M.)
Palestinian security forces take part in a training session on July 6, 2015, in the Israeli occupied West Bank (AFP, Jaafar Ashtiyeh, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian security forces have carried out 40 percent of detentions of “suspected terrorists” in the occupied West Bank in past months, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

Haaretz said that the data was presented to Israeli government officials by the Israeli army’s central command “recently.”

An Israeli army spokesperson said that the central command was not directly in possession of such numbers, however adding that she could neither confirm nor deny the veracity of Haaretz's report.

Palestinian police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

The Fatah-dominated PA and Israeli forces have worked in coordination since the Oslo Accords in 1993, which planned for a gradual power transfer of the occupied West Bank from Israeli forces to the PA over the course of five years.

More 20 years on, however, any transfer of power has yet to take place. Numerous Palestinian groups have repeatedly accused the PA of aligning with Israel's goals in the occupied West Bank, and recently of preventing a sustained uprising against Israel.

Although the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization have repeatedly threatened to put an end to the security coordination with Israel over the years, Wednesday’s report did not appear to grossly contradict statements by Palestinian officials in recent months.

In January, PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj caused an uproar after he said in an interview with US-based magazine Defense News that PA forces had aborted 200 planned attacks against Israeli targets since October, in addition to detaining around 100 Palestinians.

“They [the PA] disregard the national consensus that rejects all relations between PA and the Israeli occupation,” Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a statement at the time, rejecting attempts by the PA to "gain Israeli endorsement” through security cooperation.

In March, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his commitment to the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel in an interview broadcast by the Israeli Channel 2, arguing that it was a major factor in curbing Palestinian attacks against Israeli targets.

The Hamas movement in April charged the Palestinian Authority of adopting a "revolving door policy" that funnels Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons as part of “escalating security collaboration” with Israeli authorities.

Wednesday’s report comes amid recent pushes by the Palestinian Authority to convince Israel to limit its military incursions into Area A -- the 18 percent of the occupied West Bank which are officially under full Palestinian civil and security jurisdiction.

However, Israeli forces have regularly carried out incursions in these areas since the Second Intifada, in a breach of the Oslo Accords.
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