June 10, 2012 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian security official on Sunday told Xinhua in an interview that the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank has been declining over the past two years.

Adnan Damiri, spokesman of the PNA security apparatuses, told Xinhua at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah that Israel has been attempting to undermine the security coordination in the West Bank with the PNA, adding that "the stalled peace talks are the main reason behind this decline."

"The decision related to the Palestinian security situation and the security coordination with Israel, is at the end a decision made by the Palestinian political leadership," Damiri said, adding that "Security is interpreted by politics but it doesn't make politics."

Armed attacks carried out by West Bank militants on Israeli and settlers' targets had become very rare since 2007. Senior Israeli security officials admitted in various occasions on this fact, however, the ongoing Israeli military incursions in the West Bank are still complained by the Palestinians.

The Israeli army ground forces carry daily incursions into West Bank towns and villages, where soldiers storm homes and carry out arrests of Palestinians -- Israel says there are activists and may harm Israel's security, while the Palestinians say this would reduce the PNA control on the territory.

According to Oslo peace accords signed between Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993, the territory was divided into three areas. Area (A) under the full PNA control, area (B) under the joint Israeli-Palestinian control and area (C) under the full Israeli security control.

"Regular meetings between Israeli and Palestinian security officers are not held as it used to be before the past two years. There are contacts between the two sides whenever there is a problem related to violations of the Israeli army or Jewish settlers assaults on the Palestinian properties," said Damiri.

He went on saying that "the expression called security coordination between the PNA and Israel doesn't exist, but all what exists is the Palestinian interest ..."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had always rejected requests made by Islamic Hamas movement and other radical factions to severe security coordination with Israel. They claimed that the coordination always aims at uprooting Palestinian armed resistance in the West Bank.

Abbas defends the security coordination and says "it is a joint Israeli-Palestinian interests." However, Abbas linked a resumption of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a demand to allow arms to the PNA in the West Bank and the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Abbas had told a news conference when he was visiting France few days ago that "meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can never mean the resumption of the stalled peace talks with Israel, because in the talks we need to agree to halting settlements and establishing a Palestinian state."

In October 2010, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stopped after the Palestinians suspended it due to Israel's rejection to halt settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as well as Israel's rejection to recognize the principle of the two- state solution.

"Since 2009, Israel is still refusing to allow armored vehicles donated by Russia to the PNA security forces. The vehicles are currently in Jordan and we are still waiting for Israel's permission," Damiri said, adding "In addition to rifles and guns donated by various friend countries."

He stressed that the PNA "has never asked Israel to arm the PNA, but we have our Arab and foreign friends who provide us with arms, but the problem is with Israel which doesn't allow us to bring the donated arms and vehicles to the West Bank because it knows that we are in a bad need for it."

Damiri accused Israel of trying to "weaken the PNA security forces by not allowing the guns and vehicles to enter the West Bank," adding that "this is Israel's aim to do so in order to keep the PNA unable to control the security situation in the West Bank. "

Daily confrontations go on between the Palestinians and about half a million Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and "the daily violence always embarrass the PNA security apparatuses for not being able to protect its population and refrain from intervening to avoid clashes with the army," he said.

Damiri always said that, despite the lack of weapons and vehicles, "the PNA has been carrying out security campaigns in the West Bank cities that are under its security control for arresting wanted Palestinians who violate the law and deal with drugs and weapons."

"The PNA is holding 50 Palestinians from various cities for being involved in violating the Palestinian laws," said Damiri. However, various rights groups in the West Bank slammed the PNA security activities in the West Bank and Hamas activities in Gaza Strip for violating the public freedoms.


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