Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2011

Policing the People, Building the State: Authoritarian Transformation in the West Bank and Gaza

Yezid Sayigh

February 2011

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


As rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza have sought to strengthen their respective Palestinian Authority Security Force (PASF) sectors in recent years, they have adopted very different approaches. The Fayyad government in the West Bank largely relies on financial and training support from the West, while the Hamas-ruled Gaza, lacking significant outside help, has been forced to streamline its operations. Although well-intentioned, Western efforts have hindered—rather than helped—West Bank forces, who have received almost $450 million in assistance from the United States and the European Union since 2007. The West’s limited focus on technical rather than political assistance and disjointed overall approach—along with the lack of coherence and autonomy in the West Bank PASF—are largely responsible for the sector’s failure to develop its own training and planning capabilities.