The American military now openly admits providing military training to Palestinian military forces.
A U.S. military official, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, assigned by the United States to be a “security coordinator,” has been appointed to train 1,500 Palestinian military personnel. They will be available for “immediate deployment” in the area between Jenin and Nablus, less than an hour from Israel’s populated coastal plain.
He discussed his mission at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies last week.
Lt. Gen. Dayton said: “We also have something in our pocket called the West Bank Training Initiative where we have plans to continue a series of courses in the West Bank on logistics, leadership, first aid, maintenance, English language, battalion staff training and driver education. These are led by our British and Turkish officers with an eye to eventually turning this over to the Palestinians themselves.”
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The premise behind American military aid to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) military forces is the hope the American-trained Palestinian personnel will fight Hamas.
However, the training of Palestinian military units by U.S. advisers is taking place at the same time the PA is negotiating to join forces with the Hamas terrorist organization, which rules Gaza.
All indications show the PA is making every effort to co-opt and include Hamas in its military forces for joint operations against Israel.
Were that to happen, American military advisers and their Palestinian trainees would be placed into direct confrontation with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and with the Israeli population.
Despite assurances to the contrary, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the parent organization of the PA, remains in a state of war with Israel.
To reassure the Washington Institute, Lt. Gen. Dayton downplayed the dangers of the training that the Americans are providing the Palestinians, by saying that “Our equipping is all nonlethal…”
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com