Here's an extract or two from last Tuesday's press briefing
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon. I don’t have anything to start off with, so we can get right to your questions.
QUESTION: Any readout, sir, from the Defense Minister’s meeting with --
MR. MCCORMACK: ...I can tell you what the intent and the thinking behind the meeting was – is that – to talk about issues related to the Roadmap, Roadmap implementation and what Israel has on the books in terms of what it needs to do, but also talk about what the Palestinians need to do. And because the Ministry of Defense has a particular role to play, specifically with respect to the West Bank, which is really the focus of our discussions regarding the Roadmap right now, is particularly timely for Secretary Rice to meet with Minister Barak.
...In terms of the settlements issue, I know that that was on the agenda for us to talk to Minister Barak about. Our position on that is well known. We’ve talked about it. The fact that there are these continuing activities with respect to settlement activity is a problem. We have talked to the Israelis about that. We’ve talked to them about their Roadmap obligations and we’re going to continue to do so.
What caught my eye was this but also talk about what the Palestinians need to do.
Yes, I think we do.
You recall the Cordesman article, right? The one in which he writes of
an American-led mission, based in Jerusalem, that is trying to build new security forces on the West Bank that will support stabilization efforts by the Palestinian Authority’s president...The importance of this effort cannot be overstated: unless there are effective Palestinian security forces, Israel will never trust in a Palestinian state or be able to act on the quiet progress being made toward reaching a final settlement...As became all too clear on my visit to Israel, however, this American-led effort is being crippled by decisions within the State Department. The small mission, called the office of the United States Security Coordinator and under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, is effectively locked into a building in Jerusalem. While it’s a military mission, the State Department and the consulate in Jerusalem are in charge of Palestinian affairs and General Dayton’s advisory teams.
Of course, I don't believe that the Americans can adequately assure Israel's security, even if they could properly train the Pals. But is there any oversight - Congress, Presidential - into the workings of this special mission, which I believe is being managed as CIVPOL, , subcontracted to DynCorp, supported by Federal funds and referred to as a "Transformation Program". It's official.
INL is working with the U.S. Security Coordinator in Jerusalem to enhance the capabilities of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces in the West Bank. Our assistance is focused on providing basic, leadership, and refresher training for the National Security Forces and the Presidential Guard. We are also upgrading their training facilities and providing non-lethal equipment to support their operations.
Is the program at all successful? How successful? What is the failure rate? Is all in order? What specific problems exist?
I wish I could speak with some of these people:
Peter Liebert, Mike Thomas, Joe Schreiber, Gherdy Francis (who was an East Timor Site Manager, International Police Program, Dyncorp), Paul Richards, Dick Jones, Rick Trapp, Dave Butzer (who was former deputy chief of the Portland Police Bureau), Dan Mathis, Ben Roberts, Jesse Valdez, Louie Muniz, Holt Coleman, Tom Moselle, Jim Cavalucci, Mark French, Walt Redman
among others and ask them about the Leadership and HQ staff course logistics course, the Advanced Police Tactics Course and the Police Support Ops course and other training directions.
They, and others in the American Consulate General, are directly responsible for my security, that of my family and friends all across Yesha and also Israel. They, I think, are attempting to make sure that the PA's "policemen" can do a proper job (based on manuals like this one) and they might need to speed up the process as I understand Hamas is threatening to take over the PA in Judea and Samaria.
And if they fail, they should know that the blame will be laid not only on the State Department and their employers but on themselves as well. They have undertaken a professional task and if they know they cannot accomplishment it, or know that the PA "police" have no real intentions of contributing to Israel's security, then they too are liable to face legal steps. Israel and its citizens are not far-away East Timor or Iraq or Kosovo. There are options open to us and we will be aggressive in our own pursuit of justice.