[The fact that the Palestinian Authority Security Forces remain in a state of war with Israel should be of great concern – DB]

The European Union has increased its support of Palestinian Authority security forces.

The EU has established a coordinating office to support the PA police. Officials said the EU office would operate in Ramallah and coordinate European aid to PA security agencies.

“With this initiative in the field of police support, another key part of the action plan proposed last year and including an array of actions in the fields of security, reforms, elections and the economy, is now coming to fruition,” EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana said.

In a statement, Solana said the EU office in Ramallah marked the culmination of a dialogue with the PA. He said the EU was committed to reforming the PA security agencies.

Solana deemed the enhancement of PA police and law enforcement capacity an EU priority. Britain has taken the lead in training and equipping PA forces.

“Today’s agreement is an important step to that end,” Solana said.

The EU has also agreed to help train PA officers in the Gaza Strip. PA officials said the EU would establish an office in Gaza City to oversee the effort.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the consolidation of security agencies from the current 13 to three bodies. On April 23, the PA reshuffled its security leadership, and two veteran commanders — PA Military Intelligence Mussa Arafat and General Intelligence commander Amin Hindi — resigned.

Abbas appointed Gen. Ahmed Abdul Karim to replace Arafat, a nephew of the late Yasser Arafat. Gen. Suleiman Helef was named national security director while Gen. Hosni Rabaya was appointed national police chief. Rabaya replaced outgoing police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahim Asfour.

“I am sure that we will succeed in imposing security because this is the demand of our people,” Rabaya said. “They want to see the rule of law prevail. With a stable security situation, we can prove to the whole world that we are people who deserve respect and our own state.”

Officials said the PA would also retire other officers who have reached the age of 60. They said that starting this week 1,000 officers would be dismissed, the lion’s share brought by the late Arafat from Tunisia to the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 1994.

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