West Bank security wall 521.
(photo credit: Ksenia Svetlova)
On Tuesday, August 27, The Jerusalem Post’s front-page headline was “IDF attacked
I actually did a double take when I saw the headline;
Kalandiya is not in the middle of Tel Aviv. Kalandiya is a refugee camp located
on the other side of the separation wall in the West Bank. The entire area is
Palestinian. (Actually, on one side of the road, beyond the wall, the
area is still part of the Jerusalem municipality, annexed to Israel in 1967, but
all of the residents there are Palestinians.)
Being beyond the wall, the
Jerusalem municipality, the Israel Police and all other Israeli government
services are no longer found there. The area is defined as Area C under the Oslo
accords, which means under full Israeli control – civil and militarily –
territory to be negotiated in permanent status talks between Israel and
Inside the refugee camp, the UN agency for Palestinian
refugees provides social services and runs the schools.
checkpoint, the largest and most active checkpoint between Israel and Palestine,
is a disaster in every sense of the word – from a transportation point of view,
environmentally, planning and security. Thousands of people and vehicles cross
there every day. There is no doubt that if the crossing had to serve Israelis
the disastrous physical state of place would have been repaired years ago. The
entire place should be leveled and rebuilt with human beings in mind.
Area C the Palestinian authority has no ability or right to function.
Nonetheless, non-uniformed Palestinian Authority traffic police direct traffic
there, by agreement with Israel, because without it, traffic would be at
standstill most of the hours of the day. Israel and Palestine maintain a very
high level of coordination of security issues. This coordination goes on all the
time and everyone involved from the Israeli side in the IDF and the Shin Bet
(Israel Security Agency) have very positive attitudes on its importance and
Any future Israeli-Palestinian agreement is going to have
to revolve around increasing the quantity and quality of Israeli-Palestinian
security coordination and cooperation.
The IDF and Shin Bet will not
always be allowed to enter Palestinian territory at will, at any time of the day
or night. Amira Hass, the Haaretz correspondent who lives in Ramallah, reported
on Tuesday that in 2012 the IDF engaged in more than 6,000 incursions into the
Palestinian areas for the purpose of arresting people wanted for questioning.
That is what they were doing on Monday, August 26, in Kalandiya.
the time when the incursions take place the wanted person is picked up and IDF
forces leave the area.
When it is done in Area A which is under full
Palestinian jurisdiction it is a violation of the Oslo agreements. When it is
done in Area B and C it is “legal” under the terms of the agreement. Usually it
happens with little or no resistance.
Monday was quite different,
If the peace talks are aimed at reaching an agreement on the
establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel, understanding that security
is a foundation for the entire agreement, the parties are going to have to
develop mechanisms that meet the highest standards of fighting terrorism in
order for any agreement to be implemented.
The security coordination and
cooperation that already exists will have to be upgraded and together with a
thirdparty monitoring and verification mechanism ensuring that agreements are
implemented, will have to form the basis of security arrangements.
best to begin to put into practice this model prior to any future Israeli
territorial withdrawals. Based on the commitment of the Palestinian authority to
fight terrorism, which is what they claim, and according to the Shin Bet are
capable of doing, Israel should be able to provide intelligence information to
the PA police to apprehend those people wanted by Israel for questioning. If the
Palestinian police respond and apprehend the wanted individuals, the task will
be done and Israel will be able to follow up. Even if the questioning is done by
the Palestinians and the individual is incarcerated in Palestine and not in
Israel, the terror threat will be removed.
The third-party monitoring and
verification mechanism will be able to provide Israel with full reports on the
actions taken by the PA police. If appropriate actions are not taken, if the
wanted person is not apprehended, Israel will able to continue to enter into the
area and undertake the actions toward the arrest of the suspects. This can
continue until there is an agreement to change the current arrangements. If the
Palestinians undertake the actions satisfactorily, then there is a positive
basis for continuing with negotiations and bringing them to a positive
conclusion. If the Palestinians fail to undertake their responsibility to really
fight terrorism, this is invaluable information and input for the negotiations
The fact that under the current reality the Palestinian security
forces are not allowed to function in Areas B and C should be irrelevant to
Israel allowing them to undertake security responsibilities there. In the
interest of dealing with security, Israel can allow them to enter those areas.
In the “good old days” of the beginning of the peace process, PA security even
worked in the Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and even on the Temple
Mount. During the days of the premiership of Salam Fayyad, he was escorted by
Palestinian police into villages in Areas B and C with Israeli permission and
the Israeli army and police kept their distance. If there is a good reason to
allow the Palestinian police to function in Areas B and C Israel can always
It is essential to expand the security coordination and
cooperation now while negotiations are taking place both to ensure that a
workable security apparatus is in place that can be depended upon and so that
events like those that took place in Kalandiya on Monday won’t
The author is co-chairman of IPCRI, the Israel Palestine Center
for Research and Information, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and the
initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad
Schalit. His new book, Freeing Gilad: the Secret Back Channel, has been
published by Kinneret Zmora Bitan in Hebrew.