Preventive Security Force

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The Preventive Security Force (Arabic: الأمن الوقائي) or Preventive Security Services is the official security apparatus of the Palestinian National Authority. It was established in 1994 by President Yasser Arafat in accordance with the Oslo Accords.

The Preventive Security Service (PPS), is in charge of defending internal national security. It provides intelligence to the political level, and its main duties include counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, and defending national economy. Known for its high level of professionalism, its cadres are mostly university graduates who receive intensive training both domestically and abroad. Being on the forefront in the confrontation with Islamic and other radical opponents, the organization has been the subject of harsh accusations by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated media that PPS resorts to abusive interrogation methods. Although some individual violations have indeed occurred, human rights organizations and other international observers report that PPS has made great reforms thereof.

PPS was also accused by Israel of playing a covert role in the Intifada that erupted in September 2000 after Ariel Sharon's visit to Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount).[1] In 2001, it shelled the house of General Jibril Rajoub, then colonel, who at the time was the director of PPS. A number of PPS officers were also assassinated, injured and arrested. Confrontation continued to escalate, and reached its threshold in April 2002, when Sharon ordered the so-called Operation Defensive Shield, the largest Israeli military campaign in the West Bank since its occupation in 1967. All Palestinian cities were recaptured, placing its entire population under a curfew that lasted for 3 months, and a closure regime that continues to this day. Arafat was placed under a military siege in his headquarters in Ramallah until his death in November 2004. The Church of Nativity was also besieged. The main target of the Defensive Shield operation was to completely destroy the PA. PPS, which was relatively intact, was considered the PA's strongest line of defense. Hence, destroying the PPS was one of the main goals of the operation. The headquarters of PPS in Beitunia was placed under a military siege, with intensive shelling by tanks and Apaches, reducing the headquarters to rubble, and injuring dozens of officers.

Mohammed Dahlan led the Gaza branch from 1994 until his resignation in 2002. Jibril Rajoub headed the West Bank force until 2002, when he became National Security Adviser to the President.

In 2006, the Gaza and West Bank branches of the PPS were united under a single command, led by General Ziad Habalreeh.

On June 14, 2007 Hamas gunmen took over the central building of the Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip, which was considered the Palestinian Authority's main symbol in the Strip. Later 18 bodies of Fatah men were found in the Preventive Security compound. Later in the evening one more senior official of the Preventive Security Services was kidnapped and executed.[1]

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