It is a commonly held assumption that a demilitarized Palestinian Arab state would emerge from the current entity known as the Palestine Authority, which would serve the “security interests of the state of Israel”, given the Palestine Authority contracted responsibility to disarm Arab terror groups that function within territory under its control.
The question remains: Is it too late for PA demilitarization? The current Palestine Authority operates a Palestine Liberation Army which acts as an umbrella force that licenses arms for each and every armed faction within the Palestine Authority, including the Palestinian groups that oppose any accord with Israel: Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Fatah Hawks. Back as May 9, 1995, the Palestine Authority’s official Palestine Broadcast Corporation ( the PBC) officially announced the PA policy to license arms for each of these groups, each of which appears on the list published by the State Department that are defined as terrorist organizations.
The series of “Oslo accords”, signed by Arafat and three successive Israeli prime ministers – Rabin, Peres and Netanyahu, cosigned and witnessed by Russia and the US, allow for a Palestinian Arab armed force that would have 9,000 men and women under arms. Arafat signed an accord which provided that any Palestinian under arms would first have to be vetted by Israeli intelligence to ensure that he did not have a background in terror activity. Yet as early as December 10, 1993, it was discovered that the PLA had drafted two Arab residents from the west bank community of Tequa who had murdered the curator of the Herodian, David Rosenfeld, in 1982. They had been released when the Israeli government handed over more than 1000 convicted Palestinian Arab terrorists in exchange for 6 Israeli soldiers who had been captured by a PLO terror group in Lebanon. David Rosenfeld’s widow complained to Israeli prime minister Rabin, whose office responded on June 10, 1994 that the PLA was indeed drafting convicted killers into their armed forces without Israeli government approval. On June 20, 1995, Israel Minister for Public Security Moshe Shachal confirmed to me in a videotaped interview that the Palestine Liberation Army had grown to more than 19,000, and that more Israel no longer had any information as to the personnel then serving in the PLA. In December, 1995, Arafat announced that his commanders for Ramallah and Nablus would the men who planted bombs in Jerusalem’s Zion Square on July 5, 1975, killing thirteen people.
American intelligence experts place the number of PLA troops at more than 50,000.
Living in a generation which has witnessed the victories of the non-mechanized Viet Cong and the Algerian FLN “liberation” armies over the mighty forces of the US and France, the question remains, what are the security implications for Israel of the PA’s current Palestine Liberation Army?
Whatever possibilities existed for a demilitarized Palestinian state, the 1998 reality of the PA’s Palestine Liberation Army flies in the face of any such suggestion.