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U.S. moving ahead with plans to train Palestinian security forces PDF Print E-mail
Feb 05, 2007 at 12:00 AM

McClatchy Newspapers          February 5, 2007 
By Dion Nissenbaum and Warren P. Strobel
 
Ramallah, West Bank - The United States is planning to spend millions of dollars to train Palestinian security forces as part of a renewed effort to strengthen Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  American, Palestinian and Israeli officials said Monday that they're fine-tuning a proposal that would send thousands of Palestinian forces loyal to Abbas to neighboring Jordan and Egypt for advanced training.    

The initiative is intended to provide Abbas with critical support in his political and military confrontation with the well-armed Hamas hard-liners who've controlled the Palestinian Authority since elections early last year.

The militant Islamist Hamas and Abbas' Fatah faction have fought in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.

But there's disagreement over whether to provide Abbas' forces with arms. Critics have charged that military aid could end up fueling, not containing, the street fighting, which has claimed more than 100 Palestinian lives in the last two months.

A senior Bush administration official said late last week that the $86 million in security assistance for the Palestinians that the White House is requesting from Congress would be confined to non-lethal items, such as training.

But Brig. Gen. Majed Faraj, the head of military intelligence for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, said, "If they want to train the forces but not equip them, then there's no point in training them." ... 

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Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy

Final Statement of the Palestinian Civil Society Conference,
Cyprus, 16–18 October 2007

As part of the effort by the Palestinian civil society organizations to overcome the state of forced Palestinian fragmentation and consolidate the national role of the Palestinian NGOs in all their places of residence, a conference titled "Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy" was held in Agros, Cyprus, between 16 and 18 October 2007 at the initiative of Ittijah-The Union of Arab Community Based Associations. Forty-four participants representing a broad sector of Palestinian civil society networks, coalitions, and associations in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Kuwait, in addition to a number of international partner organizations supporting Palestinian rights, attended the conference. The Israeli occupation authorities banned the travel of a delegation representing civil society organizations in Gaza.

The conference discussed a number of issues, notably: The Palestinian situation and Palestinian, regional, and international developments, including the Annapolis conference; the collective Palestinian strategy against the forced fragmentation; the endeavors to rebuild terms of reference and assert the constant Palestinian principles; the strategy of collective Palestinian advocacy; Palestinian media strategies; and local and international coordination on the Palestinian question.

The participants in the conference set bases that would help strengthen the overall Palestinian struggle for liberation in all its contexts: the occupation, the displacement and uprooting, and the assault on Palestinian existence in the 1948 areas.

A draft of a collective organizational structure and an action plan were also devised, and a follow-up committee to implement this plan and lead the agreed process was set up.

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