Director of The AICP Nassar Ibrahim:
In connection with the criminal assassination of the martyr Nizar Banat, and so that his sacrifice is not in vain, we must address the following question: What is the doctrine of the Palestinian security services? What are its sources and foundations? And how can it break from its deeply dysfunctional, current role?
This question is neither a luxury nor a provocation, but an expression of the Palestinian people’s national need to know the foundations and premises according to which the security services (Palestinian National Security - Palestinian Preventive Security - Palestinian General Intelligence - Palestinian Police - Palestinian Military Intelligence – Palestinian Presidential Guard - Palestinian Civil Defense - Palestinian Executive Force), act in order to monitor and hold them accountable for their performance and behavior towards both the people and external danger and threats.
In Arabic language dictionaries we find general definitions of the words “creed,” what the heart and conscience hold, and “military doctrine,” or “a set of intellectual values and principles that aim to establish theories of military science and the sciences of the art of war, to determine the construction and uses of the armed forces in times of peace and war in a manner that achieves national goals and interests.” If we look at this definition, we find that it covers all levels of belief and focuses on the strategic level as the foundation.
The sources of military doctrine are summarized in the comprehensive doctrine of the state, which is the primary source for all levels of doctrine in general, and basic military doctrine in particular. Examples of states’ beliefs include religious belief, ideologies, foundations and principles set by political leaders, and thus “the military doctrine varies according to the circumstances of each country, so it cannot be said that there is one military doctrine for all countries” (Dr. Muhammad Abdul Rahman Arif - Al-Mayadeen Net - January 22 2018).
When countries establish and build their armies, they define a doctrine in the constitution, a doctrine generally grounded in the state's vision of its role and national interests: protecting the people and defending unity, territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of the state against external threats. In the case of liberation movements, this belief is based on liberation of the homeland and protection of the people.
In December 31, 2014, a workshop was organized by the Masarat Center: Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies entitled “The call for a comprehensive vision for the role, missions, and references of the security forces.”
Zaid, a speaker in the workshop, pointed out that “A national security concept arose after signing of the “Oslo Agreement” from members of the Palestine Liberation Army, previously present in a number of Arab countries and who then entered the West Bank and Gaza Strip united in one apparatus named National Security. Considered the only security authority in the Palestinian territories, and created within the framework of the police force agreed upon in the Oslo Accords negotiations, its tasks included preventing crime, maintaining public order, protecting property, institutions and infrastructure, confronting terrorism and preventing incitement. External security remained in the hands of the Israeli occupation forces, in accordance with the Palestinian-Israeli agreement.”
As for the American officer, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, who trained the Palestinian National Security Forces, he was proud, at one of the training course’s graduation ceremonies, of the speech delivered by a Palestinian officer (in the text) “.. you did not come here to learn how to fight Israel, but you came here to learn how you maintain order and the law, how you respect the rights of all your citizens” (Mahmoud Abu Rumman - Dayton Mission and “The Palestinian Security Doctrine” - Al-Ghad, July 25, 2011).
So we have security formations facing a deep contradiction between their role in protecting the Palestinian people and defending their rights and interests, as stipulated in their aforementioned regulations on the one hand, and the conditions and restrictions imposed on these agencies in accordance with the Oslo Accords in terms of their powers, role and the condition of coordination with Israel, on the other hand.
This ambiguous reality does not annul occasional clashes carried out by some agencies with the occupation at various stages, as happened in the intifada of 2000, or by individual initiatives of the members of these agencies, including the fall of numerous martyrs among them, as happened in Jenin a few days ago.
The discussion here is not about individuals, who are, in the end, the Palestinian people, but rather about security institutions as structures, powers, responsibilities, and doctrine.
This debate becomes urgent and necessary in light of two obvious facts:
The first: Israel’s non-compliance with agreements signed with the Palestinian side, and it’s continued, aggressive policies against the Palestinian people: assassinations, arrests, house demolitions, settlements, annexation, siege, wars, and so on, thus confirming that these agreements have failed to achieve even a minimum, and even consider the occupation as no longer existing in a practical sense.
Second: Instances of clashes between Palestinian security services and the Palestinian people on more than one occasion, whether during the social protest movements or popular movements in the face of the occupation, and the resulting victims and arrests.
Therefore, we require a deep and decisive review of the role and doctrine of these agencies, in a manner that responds to the interests, rights, dignity and freedom of the Palestinian people, and safeguards their right to security and to resist the occupation.
Only through this will such a state of contradiction finally be ended, such that the tragedy of Palestinian people falling at the hands of their sons in the security services will not be repeated. Is this possible? What are the political, organizational and ideological conditions for that?