The Palestinian Authority has foiled 200 attacks against Israelis in the upsurge in violence that began in October and it will continue its security coordination with Israel, Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj said in an interview this week with Defense News.
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Faraj, who is considered very close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, rarely makes public statements. He told the U.S.-based publication that Palestinian security and intelligence forces also confiscated weapons and arrested about 100 Palestinians during this period. He said was important to keep the Islamic State organization from establishing a base in the West Bank in bringing about the PA’s collapse.
Faraj reiterated the warning issued by other Palestinian officials regarding the sense of hopelessness brought on by the lack of progress toward an independent state. He spoke about what he called the despair of the post-Oslo generation, noting that more than 55 percent of the West Bank population is younger than 30.
“The people in the West Bank, they’ve given us many years for our political project. ... They supported us. But in this time, we in the security establishment witnessed three wars in Gaza, the continuation of Israeli crimes in the West Bank and almost daily Israeli invasions. There’s no hope for a political horizon. ... We have no state, but rather a state of settlers,” Faraj said.
He stressed, however, that the West Bank is still under control. “There is a difference between individual acts and the group. In some cases, we may see individuals acting. ... Until today, we really are a stable institution. We will continue to do our work. But we really are at a crossroads. We see ourselves as powerless when the Israelis invade where we live. ... What can I tell my officers and the people we’re supposed to protect?”
Faraj said that while he believed that more than 90 percent of Palestinians reject the extremism of Al-Qaida, the Islamic State and the Nusra Front — a Syrian rebel group with links to Al-Qaida — but he warned that ISIS is on the border, looking for a way to establish a base. He said that if Islamic State or other extremist groups were to target Israel, they would find support in the Arab street. That’s why it was important to prevent the PA’s collapse, “Because the alternative is anarchy, violence and terrorism,” he warned.
“We, together with our counterparts in the Israeli security establishment, with the Americans and others, are all trying to prevent that collapse. The experts all know that in case of collapse, everybody will get hurt. ... They’re already in Iraq, Syria, Sinai, Lebanon and Jordan, but Ramallah, Amman and Tel Aviv must remain immune from them,” he said in the interview.