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David Bedein

Unanswered Questions Submitted to the US Consul in Jerusalem Concerning US Training of Palestinian Troops

By David Bedein, July 26, 2010

To: Mr. Dov Schwartz, Spokesman for General Dayton 

From: David Bedein, Center for Near East Policy Research and Israel Resource News Agency 

Our agency is preparing a study of the current American military aid to the PA armed forces. 

This study will be offered to American and Israeli media outlets. 

Here are some questions that we would like to present to General Dayton. IF it would be possible to meet with him, that would be optimal. 

1. One of the premises of the American military aid to the PA is that the PA would be using its military training to fight terrorist organizations, especially the Hamas. However, the PA is now speaking of a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas. PA president Mahmoud Abbas is in favor of this. How can the US train PA security troops, increasing their competency, when it is not clear at the end of the day who will be commanding them? 

2. How can the US have confidence in, and work with, a PA leadership that plays both ends against the middle -- claiming to work towards moderation and seeking a coalition with Hamas at one and the same time? 

3. There is strong precedent for US-trained PA security troops utilizing their expertise against Israel. Dayton has now solidly linked the training he is doing with the formation of a Palestinian state. In a talk at the Washington Institute in May, he said: “With big expectations, come big risks. There is perhaps a two-year shelf life on being told that you're creating a state, when you're not.” The implication here is that violence directed at Israel may follow if there is no state within two years. Is Dayton not concerned about the dangers to Israel inherent in what he's doing? 

4. The PA state now being promoted by PA prime minister Fayyad is not moderate. There is no compromise included on any of the key issues - Fayad insists on Israel's return to pre-'67 armistice lines, the return of refugees, the PA control of all of Jerusalem. Is General Dayton complacent about the possibilities of establishing a Palestinian state, despite these considerable stumbling blocks? 

5. Is General Dayton cognizant of the dangers to Israel, if a state is not established, and willing to move ahead in spite of this? 

6. There is considerable evidence -- both from academics and Arabic-speaking journalists-- for the influence of the hamula (clan) system in Palestinian society. This system, strongly entrenched within the society, demands that Palestinians give their first loyalty to the hamula, which means that troops in the security forces may have cousins who are linked to Hamas. In light of this, why is General Dayton confident he is training troops that will be loyal, first, to the Palestinian flag? Has General Dayton adequately considered this weakness in his plans? 

7.What has been the role of Michael Eisenstadt on General Dayton’s staff? 

8.Did Eisenstadt organize and facilitate the visit of the Washington Institute delegation in 2008 that led to its report in December 2008? 

9. In August 2009, the PA, according to published reports, sent a letter to the White House that asked for General Dayton’s recall. What comment do you have in this regard? 

10. PA Chairman Abbas ordered a reshuffle of the NSF leadership in September 2009, leaving only NSF chief Al Ali in command despite his passing mandatory retirement age. Did you play any role in Al Ali's retention? A critic of the U.S. training program of NSF in Jordan was NSF training director Maj. Gen. Yunis Al Asi. Several weeks after Al Asi told Jane's Defence Weekly that the Jordanian program was not suitable for NSF recruits, he was ordered dismissed by Abbas. Why was this and did you have a role in Al Asi's dismissal? 

11. PA officials, according to published reports, said a four-month training course in Jordan costs $11 million, while the same course in Jericho could cost as little as $700,000. Can you explain this? 

12. In July 2009, PA security, including NSF, failed to stop the sabotage by Fatah of the U.S.-supported festival in Nablus. Have you investigated this failure and what were the findings? 

13. Over the last year, according to published reports, several PA commanders who have worked with you bought villas and luxury cars in the Nablus and Ramallah area? PA sources said the sudden wealth of the commanders came from bonuses paid by the United States. Can you please comment on this? 

14. Does the U.S. or your office pay bonuses to PA commanders for missions? 

15. On May 31, 2009, about 3,000 PA forces failed to dislodge five Hamas gunmen in a stand-off in Kalkilya. The stand-off, according to published reports ended soon after three vans with non-PA plates pulled up and about 25 unidentified security men directed a final and successful assault. Was your office involved in this mission and were the men, who gave commands in a non-Arabic language, from your staff? 

16. Will the PA armed forces have authority to arrest and detain Israelis? 

17. What will be the legal process for Israelis detained by the Palestinian armed forces? 

18. Who will supervise the prison system? What human rights and civil liberties will the PA assure detainees? 

19. Will the PA armed forces enforce environmental laws? 

20. Will the PA armed forces establish shelters for battered women? 

21 Will the PA armed forces prosecute child abuse? 

22. How will the Will the PA armed forces deal with those who continue terror operations? 

23. How will PA armed forces cope with those caught planning, supplying, or engaging in terror operations 

24. Will the PA forces hand over such people to Israeli authorities? 

25. How will weapons be controlled? By registration and licensing? 

26. Will illegal weapons be confiscated and destroyed? 

27. General Dayton has been quoted as telling a US Congressional Committee in 2007 that he compared himself to a Roman general. Does General Dayton confirm that? If so, what did he mean by that?

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