UK spends millions training security forces to control Palestinians in West Bank and Lebanon

Water Cannonsource: Daily Maverick
published: 20 May 2021

British aid projects supporting Palestinian security forces appear to be as much about helping to stop threats to Israel, the occupying power, as they are about enhancing Palestinian state-building.

The UK is running a multimillion-pound aid project in the Israeli-occupied West Bank to develop “more capable” Palestinian security forces who can prevent the “potential overspill of violence into Israel.”

The project, which is managed jointly by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Foreign Office and lasts until 2022, aims to “deal with threats to Israel originating in the West Bank”. It also intends to build the capacity of Palestinian security forces to promote “security cooperation with Israel”.

The project — the Capability, Accountability, Sustainability and Inclusivity Programme — provides support to the internal security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the interim government in the West Bank which was created in 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords. It cost £3.3-million last year.

While the PA is seen as legitimate by some Palestinians, it is criticised by many for acting as a security subcontractor for the Israeli occupation. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the PA since 2005, previously said collaboration with Israeli security forces is “sacred”.

The PA’s security forces have often tried to block demonstrations at Israeli checkpoints or settlements in the West Bank, and have cracked down on Abbas’ political rivals – in the past with guidance from British intelligence agency MI6.

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