The following statement was released by the US Palestine Community Network (Palestinian Popular Conference) on 8 September 2009:
The US Palestinian Community Network is appalled that the government of the United States not only continues its unconditional support for Israel, but has engaged in establishing Palestinian contra forces in the West Bank, aimed at deepening Palestinian internal division and engaging in arbitrary arrests and assassinations of political activists. We demand an immediate end to all such programs and the immediate withdrawal of US Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton and his mercenaries from Palestine!
US Lt. General Keith Dayton, the US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, has overseen the creation of a paramilitary force serving the occupation under the title of Palestinian Authority “security forces.” While Israeli occupation soldiers regularly abduct, injure and kill Palestinians, Dayton’s contras have engaged in a campaign of intimidation against the Palestinian populace, including arbitrary arrests, raids on charitable institutions and non-governmental organizations, assassinations and torture of political opponents of the Palestinian Authority.
Furthermore, the focus on “security” comes at the expense of the Palestinian people’s real needs. While Palestinians continue to organize to resist occupation and strengthen their communities by building schools, hospitals and community-centered institutions that support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, the US has poured money, arms and resources into “security forces” that provide no security for Palestinians who face daily threats from settlers and occupying forces, but instead act as threats against Palestinians on the ground.
The actions of these squads are fully coordinated with the Israeli military occupation. They carry out arrests, abductions and raids at the direction of Israeli military forces and provide the occupation forces with information about the location of Palestinian activists. Israeli officials have bragged about the success of these paramilitary forces in repressing Palestinian resistance.
In addition, this force is designed to prop up a subservient and collaborationist Palestinian authority. The training for these forces is provided by a number of repressive Arab regimes, who themselves maintain their power due to US funding and support.
These paramilitary squads are not an internal Palestinian question alone. As taxpayers and residents of the United States, we demand that the US ceases its funding and training of Dayton’s mercenaries. US involvement in paramilitary death and terror squads is nothing new — from Colombia, to the Philippines, to El Salvador, to Nicaragua, to Angola and Mozambique, the US has funded trained and armed paramilitary forces to serve US interests and/or support reactionary local rulers.
We call upon all Arab American community organizations, anti-war coalitions, and progressive institutions to take action to end Dayton’s contras program in Palestine by:
1. Signing on to this statement! Email your endorsement to stopdayton A T palestineconference D O T org.
2. Organizing a visit to your Congressional representative. Deliver him or her letter from your community urging that Congress end all funding to Dayton’s contras program.
3. Issuing a statement from your local community group demanding the immediate withdrawal of Dayton and his team from Palestine.