Palestinian National Security Forces
|Palestinian Authority Security Forces
قوات الأمن الوطني الفلسطيني
|Service branches||Public Security Force
Palestinian Civil Police Force
Preventive Security Force
Presidential Security Force
Customs and Excise Police Force
University Security Service
|Director General||Maj. Gen. Nasser Yousef|
The Palestinian National Security Forces (NSF) (Arabic: قوات الأمن الوطني الفلسطيني) are the paramilitary forces of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The Presidential Guard (PG) was a separate force, originally not part of the NSF. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, these forces operate in areas controlled by the PNA.
The Palestinian National Security Forces engages in various activities which includes among others, maintaining the security and protection of the Palestinian President and Palestinian Leadership. They also function in general as law enforcement agencies.
The Director General of the Palestinian National Security Forces is Major General Nasser Yousef.
The Palestinian Security Force is financed by the United States which, according to media estimates, pays an annual 3 million dollars for it.
As the Israeli–Palestinian conflict goes on, the security forces notably co-operate with other law enforcement agencies, such as arresting militant sub-groups and assisting the Israeli government with prosecuting those picked up. According The Jerusalem Post as well, "In the past, Palestinian security forces have released arrested terrorists and then quietly tipped off Israel to mitigate internal public criticism against handing over Palestinians to Israel."
As part of the Oslo Accords, the PNA was authorized to recruit and train a police force with paramilitary capabilities, but was not permitted to have a military force. Several bilateral agreements between the PNA and Israel regulate the size of the force, its structure, armament, and composition. The agreements provide Israel with the right to review potential recruits and withhold approval of those with a terrorist background. They were not enforced, however, with the result that the actual size and equipment of the force in 2002 exceeded what was permitted.
Initially, Yasser Arafat set up a string of 14 overlapping and often competing security forces, each one controlled by a rival political or former guerrilla chieftain, but all of them ultimately loyal to him and his Fatah party.
From the late 1990s, the CIA played the central role in building up PA security forces, in close co-operation with the Israeli military and intelligence. After the killing of three US officials in the Gaza strip in 2003, British forces played an increasingly active role.
Mohammed Dahlan, was the first chief of the Palestinian Security Force in Gaza from 1994 to 2002. Dahlan was replaced by Rashid Abu Shbak. Jibril Rajoub was the chief president of the Palestinian Security Force in the West Bank and was replaced in 2002 by Zuhair Manasra.
2005 re-structuring plan
According to The Guardian, based on the Palestine Papers, in 2003, British Prime Minister Tony Blair approved a plan of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 for a US-led "counter-insurgency surge" against Hamas. MI6 proposed a secret plan to crush Hamas and other armed groups on the West Bank. It included internment of leaders and activists, closure of radio stations and replacement of imams in mosques. The plan recommended inter alia
"Degrading the capabilities of the rejectionists – Hamas, PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and the [Fatah-linked] Al Aqsa Brigades – through the disruption of their leaderships' communications and command and control capabilities; the detention of key middle-ranking officers; and the confiscation of their arsenals and financial resources".
Also the internment of leading Hamas and PIJ figures should have been explored. The plan aimed to implement the Road map for peace. In March 2005, a secret British "Palestinian Security Plan" was presented with detailed proposals for a new security taskforce, based on "trusted PA contacts" outside the control of "traditional security chiefs", a British/US security "verification team", and "direct lines" to Israeli intelligence.
In June 2007 the Palestinian Security Force had a particularly significant role in the confrontations between Fatah and Hamas. These confrontations resulted in the fall of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force headquarters in western Gaza City after bloody clashes.
2014 Italian-Palestinian training programme
By virtue of a bilateral agreement signed between the Italian Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior of the Palestinian Authority, the Carabinieri became a partner in the technical and professional training of Palestinian security forces and, for this reason, on March 19, 2014 Carabinieri instructors left Italy for Jericho, where is situated the General Training Centre.
The Presidential Guard is made up entirely of members loyal to Fatah. It is responsible for the personal security of the President of the Palestinian National Authority and his VIP guests. Initially consisting of about 90 officers under President Yasser Arafat, the Presidential Guard has been increased to 1,000 under his successor Mahmoud Abbas in 2006.
The total strength of Palestinian Authority's forces as of May 2007 were estimated at 176,500, broken down as follows (division and figures may considerably deviate from the current situation'):
- Public Security Force - 35,000 (a gendarmerie)
- Palestinian Civil Police Force - 21,000
- Preventive Security Force - 24,000
- General Intelligence - 19,000
- Military Intelligence, Navy Police, Force 17 - 30,000
- Presidential Security Force - 57,000
- Operations Force - 45,000
- Other forces (Coastal Police, Civil Defence, Air Force, Customs and Excise Police Force and the University Security Service) - 18,500
On 20 March 2015, two Palestinian children, Rakiz Abu Assab (10) and Mohammad Raed al-Hajj (11) were shot by Palestinian security forces near the Balata Refugee Camp, when the latter intervened against youths throwing stones. The former was shot in the stomach, the latter in the foot.
- Abbas outlaws Hamas's paramilitary Executive Force. Richard Boudreaux, The Boston Globe, 7 January 2007
- Plan B. US State Department, 2007
- Palestine: The recruitment practices of the Palestinian National Forces. Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada; 25 February 2003
- U.S. training Fatah in anti-terror tactics. Matthew Kalman, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 December 2006
- Palestine papers: MI6 plan proposed internment – and hotline to Israelis. Seumas Milne and Ian Black, The Guardian, 25 January 2011
- "Report: Palestinian police chief to run against Arafat". CNN. 2002-07-04.
- UK Security Plan: British MI6 Palestinian Security Plan with Annex (2003). Al Jazeera, Palestine Papers, 2011. On 
- British Security Plan: Palestinian National Security Force Report (18 March 2005). Al Jazeera, Palestine Papers, 2011. On . View document on Guardian website: The Palestine papers: a blueprint for security The Guardian, 25 January 2011
- "Medio oriente: l'Arma partecipa all'addestramento della polizia palestinese". Arma dei Carabinieri. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- '2 children shot during clashes with PA security forces,' Ma'an News Agency 20 March 2015.