Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The "precarious peace" in the West Bank

"With all of the unrest sweeping the Middle East, one place long-associated with bullets and bloodshed has so far been remarkably calm: the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

I recently traveled there for the first time in a decade and so much had changed. Cities once racked with violence like Ramallah, Hebron and Jericho are now bustling. Peaceful. Vibrant. Where Israeli bullets and Palestinian rocks used to fly, the biggest danger I felt was getting trampled by herds of shoppers or struck by taxis racing to their next fare.

The purpose of our visit was to look at what is behind this new security and prosperity in the West Bank -- and whether it could hold. One of the cornerstones of the new West Bank -- and the focus of our upcoming report -- is a little-known U.S. program that for about five years has been providing training and equipment to Palestinian national security forces. There are now some 3,500 of these freshly trained, professional and disciplined troops standing watch on West Bank streets.

The very idea that United States is supporting Palestinian troops would have been unthinkable not long ago -- these very troops previously existed to resist occupation of Israel, America's closest ally in the region. But what makes this story even more interesting is that these newly-trained Palestinian forces are now working shoulder to shoulder with Israeli soldiers against a common enemy: the Islamist group Hamas. Hamas is intent on wiping the Jewish state off the map; but it also wants to usurp the Palestinian territories from the Palestinian Authority. And in 2007, it had some success -- violently seizing control of Gaza Strip, which borders Egypt, from the Palestinian Authority and using the territory to launch rockets into Israel." --Dan Rather

Also watch this:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

No comments :