Shin Bet Head: Palestinian Security Forces Respond to Israeli Tips and Thwart Attacks

But while singing the praises of Israeli security coordination with the Palestinian Authority, Yoram Cohen tells the cabinet that Israeli operations are still responsible for thwarting the majority of attacks.

Palestinian police in Ramallah.
Reuters

Head of the Shin Bet security service Yoram Cohen told the cabinet on Wednesday that when Palestinian security forces receive Israeli intelligence information, they act on it to thwart attacks.

Ministers said Cohen sung the praises of security coordination with the Palestinians, but also said that most of the terrorism thwarted in the West Bank was as a result of Israeli operations.

During the meeting, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan argued with Cohen about talks held with the Palestinians about reducing IDF operations in Area A. Bennett asked Cohen for data regarding the extent of Palestinian operations to thwart attacks.

Cohen replied: "I'm not trying to evade the question but I don’t look at numbers in evaluating what they are doing, but rather at the question of whether they are implementing things to our satisfaction." 

Erdan retorted: "You are not specifically answering the question."

Cohen replied that he wasn't specifically addressing the extent of attacks that were thwarted by the Palestinians because the issue had to be viewed in a more complex manner.

Emil Salman

He said that sometimes Palestinian security forces cannot carry out a certain operation due to internal sensitivity, and in such instances Israel does the work. But the Palestinians operate in places and in instances in which it is difficult for Israel to do so, he said.

Cohen also spoke about the issue of who would succeed Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority.  He said it was not clear how the PA would look after Abbas is no longer leader. 

"What is certain is that it won't be the same," Cohen said. "Whoever succeeds Abbas will not be in as much control over the power centers of the PLO, Fatah and Palestinian Authority."

Haaretz reported on Wednesday that data presented recently by senior officers in Central Command to the political echelons showed that Palestinian security forces were responsible for 40 percent of arrests of terrorist suspects in the West Bank in recent months.

The remaining arrests are carried out by the IDF.

The data point to a threefold increase in operations by Palestinian security forces who until three months ago were responsible for only about 10 percent of arrests.

In light of the expansion of operations by Palestinian security forces, the IDF decided to reduce its own military action in recent months, whereas at the start of the wave of terrorism from October through March, IDF forces entered the territory almost every day and operated inside Palestinian cities hundreds of times a months.

Since March the frequency of troop entries into the cities declined to dozens per month with a large number of arrests being carried out by Palestinian security forces.