What is delaying the training of Palestinian police officers in Jordan? A US-funded program to train and equip Palestinian security forces is mired in delays, a shortage of resources, and differences between Israel and the United States over what military capabilities those forces should have once deployed in the territories, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
The group of more than 1,000 Palestinian trainees is being trained in a desert camp one hour from Jordan's capital, Amman.
The courses are the first extended training of Palestinian recruits since June, when hundreds of Fatah graduates of a US-backed, 45-day crash course conducted in Egypt were deployed against Hamas fighters in Gaza.
But doubts in Israel and in the US Congress about the loyalties of Abbas's forces have slowed the arrival of the program's funding.
US contract workers and Jordanian security forces are training about 600 members of the Fatah-dominated National Security Forces, or NSF, in a 16-week course. About 425 members of the elite presidential guard, which answers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, are undergoing eight weeks of training.
According to the report, although Israel insists that the Palestinians must have effective security in the West Bank and Gaza before its forces withdraw further, the Israeli government has placed significant restrictions on the US-coordinated training effort.
Weeks into the course, which began in late January, US and Jordanian instructors had yet to receive essential training equipment, including vehicles, two-way radios, dummy pistols, rifles and batons, and a US-designed curriculum, Americans with close knowledge of the program told The Washington Post.
Because of Israeli concerns, the group has not been outfitted with pledged body armor or light-armored personnel carriers. The shortages and delays have forced US and Jordanian trainers to improvise their way through the program, including purchasing pistol-shaped cigarette lighters for use in arrest drills and using their own cars for driver training.
One of the Americans told The Washington Post, "In short, we are faking it."