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Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS)

It could have been expected that with the transfer of powers to the Palestinian Authority the situation would improve significantly. Instead, it seems that a grave deterioration has taken place. Arafat's security forces systematically tortured and mutilated detainees. The Chief of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS) has exercised censorship over the Al-Quds newspaper through almost daily contact with the managing editor, who seeks approval for all articles critical of the Palestinian Authority.

The Preventative Security Service in the Gaza Strip, headed by Rashid Abu Shoubac and Samir Mashrahawi, changed from an organization whose purpose it was to thwart terror, into one that blatantly supports and assisted it. The PSS itself became a terrorist organization, generating, initiating, backing and giving protection to terrorists and terror attacks, both against IDF forces and Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip.

In April 2000 the Preventive Security Service closed the office of the Civic Forum in Gaza, because it doesn't have a permit. The Civic Forum was established in 1995, as an institution affiliated with NDI, National Democratic Institute for international affairs, an American organization which is based in Washington. In mid 1998, the administration of the institute became Palestinian, and its head office remained in East Jerusalem. Its major activity was to organize seminars and workshops on democracy, educating people, specially the young, and holding meetings with officials in the PA and members of the Legislative Council.

While PA leader Arafat succeeded in removing Jibril Rajoub as Director of the Preventive Security Service in the West Bank in early 2002, his plan to replace him with the Governor of Jenin, Zuhair Manasreh, failed when hundreds of officers of the Preventive Security Service insisted that Arafat nominate one from their ranks as Rajoub's successor.

IDF forces and Border police operated in the Tel Al Hawa neighborhood in southern Gaza City on the night of 18 November 2002, concentrating mainly on the PSS headquarters. Within the PSS headquarters, soldiers uncovered explosive and weapons making facilities, a Qassam rocket, ammunition and a large quantity of intelligence information. The IDF's Division Commander in the Gaza strip, Brigadier General Israel Ziv said in an interview on army radio: "The goal of the operation was very precise. We focused on the destruction of the PSS's means of manufacturing weapons. Palestinian terrorists used these weapons to attack Israeli citizens".

Documents found by Israeli Intelligence in 2003 recently in the Gaza offices of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PPSS) exposed not only the corruption and mismanagement of the Palestinian Authority, but also revealed the channeling of PA funds toward the financing and implementation of terrorist operation. Among the documents found during the IDF's Operation Guardian Fortress in Gaza were hundreds of receipts along with photocopies of cheques and other documents. These relate to the transfer of sums of money, ranging from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, to senior and lower-level operatives and other elements. These funds, originating from the budgets of the Preventive Security apparatus and its independent sources of income were used not only for preventive security (such as intelligence gathering and preventive operations) but also to finance and initiate terrorism. Funds were also transferred to financial concerns in which the Preventive Security leadership has interests, as well as to payments providing "assistance" to the heads of the Preventive Security apparatus, their cronies and those favoured by the Preventive Security authorities (including senior political figures). The payments were transferred directly by the Preventive Security apparatus, and occasionally by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance. On occasions, this occurred with Arafat's personal approval and sometimes without his direct involvement. At times, the funds were transferred directly to the beneficiaries, and at other times, they received the payments through an intermediary.

In August 2003 PA State Security Minister Muhammad Dahlan announced that he has decided to merge the Preventive Security Service in the West Bank and Gaza under one command. Since the PA was established in 1994, the PSS has operated as two separate bodies in the West Bank and Gaza. The Gaza Strip branch was headed by Dahlan until 2002, while the West Bank force was led by Jibril Rajoub, who was dismissed from his post in 2002.



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