The reality in the West Bank has pushed some Palestinians to enforce an occupation against their own people.
On Sunday morning, 34-year-old Amjed Sakari, a member of the Palestinian security services, drove up to an Israeli checkpoint reserved exclusively for Palestinian Authority personnel. When asked to produce his ID, he stepped out of the car and opened fire, wounding three Israeli soldiers. In response, the IDF put Ramallah, the political and financial capital of the West Bank, under near-total lockdown.
The driver and bodyguard of the Palestinian chief prosecutor, Sakari is only the second member of the PA security forces to commit an attack since the latest round of violence erupted last October. The first was Mazan Hasan Ariva, an intelligence officer in the Palestinian Authority, who opened fire on an Israeli civilian and a soldier at Hizma checkpoint near Ramallah in December of last year.
As Amos Harel points out, it is too early to tell whether Sakari and Ariva’s actions are a harbinger of things to come, and yet this current political moment should give us pause.
Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967 and until 1993, Israel has been the sole sovereign power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accords produced a series of political and economic agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the most significant of which was the creation of the Palestinian Authority — an interim self-governing body established to oversee both security and civil matters in parts of the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip.
While the PA was not allowed a military, it could establish its own security forces, including police and secret service. These forces work in tandem with the Shin Bet and the Israeli army to foil attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers as well as to prevent insurrection against the PA within Areas A and B.
On paper, Oslo laid out a years-long process of granting piecemeal autonomy to the Palestinians in the occupied territories. In reality, successive Israeli governments have used the PA to outsource the security duties of the Israeli army to a nascent, American-trained Palestinian police force. Meanwhile, Israel’s settlement enterprise continued to gnaw away at an already-fraught territorial contiguity in the West Bank. Today there are over half a million Israeli settlers beyond the Green Line, supported by one of the most...Read More