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The PA threat to disband security personnel is just hot air

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The Palestinian Authority’s latest financial crisis began in February after the Israeli government cut part of the tax money owed to its treasury, amounting to $140 million. The consequences of this have spread to various parts of the PA, including its ministries, municipalities and governorates.

Now a number of senior Palestinian officials have made statements about the possibility of the security situation in the occupied West Bank being affected due to the financial crisis. This also poses a security threat to Israel, which is currently enjoying relative calm in the West Bank, for the first time in many years.

“When the authority can no longer pay its bills we will start to send our security people home,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced suddenly on 5 June.

The Palestinian Security Services (PSS) in the West Bank consist of four major agencies: the National Security Council, Preventative Security, Military Intelligence and General Intelligence. It is clearly overstaffed, with 66,000 personnel; that’s one security officer for every 48 Palestinians in the occupied territories.

READ: No relations with US until it u-turns on Jerusalem, says PA

The PA also has a glut of senior officers whose salaries are a burden on the already stretched budget. Security takes up 31 per cent of the budget annually, equivalent to around $1 billion.

All of these security personnel do not protect the Palestinians in the West Bank. According to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in December last year, only 47 per cent of the Palestinians living there feel secure. The centre did not mention what the Palestinian security personnel are actually doing to........

© Middle East Monitor