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Civil Police (al-Shurta Madaniyya)

The Palestinian Civil Police, like the National Security Force, was formally established under the General Security Service (GSS) umbrella with the signing of the May 1994 Cairo agreement. The largest of the PA's law enforcement agencies with over 10,000 officers, these police carry out traditional law enforcement and policing activities to maintain everyday public order.

In addition, the Civil Police lead a special rapid-deployment team of 700 officers trained to handle riots, execute counterterrorism operations, and perform rapid response to miscellaneous crises.

Long-time head of the police, Ghazi al-Jabali came under frequent criticism for corruption, curbing critical press, and the 1996 detention of Palestinian civil rights activist, Eyad Sarraj.

In February 2004, a gunfight erupted at the Police headquarters in Gaza. Two alternative explanations emerged, with some officials early claiming that armed militants had attempted to assassinate Jabali. Other officials said the violence was caused by members of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service acting under the influence of Jabali-rival and former head of Preventive Security, Mohammad Dahlan.

In July 2004, Jabali and the police suffered an additional blow when he was briefly kidnapped by militants, and then fired by Arafat. The Jenin Martyrs Brigade, part of the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the abduction that was said to be in response to corruption. A spokesman for the brigade stated, "Ghazi Jabali was kidnapped to hold him accountable for his mistakes against our people."

Arafat replaced Jabali with Musa Arafat, the former President's cousin. This did little to boost confidence that the PA would implement change and anti-corruption measures.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:54:09 ZULU