The State of Israel established the Palestinian Authority in 1994 in accordance with the first Oslo Accord, which had been concluded the previous year by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization of Tunis-based Yassir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.
Since it was created by the Oslo Accord, the PA has acted negligently if at all to prevent terrorism, and many times has purposefully ignored it and refused to cooperate with Israeli security bodies. Not only have senior PA figures directed terrorism, encouraged terrorism, and announced their intention to employ terrorism, but its workers often have been directly involved in terrorism, whether smuggling weapons to terrorist organizations, overseeing terrorist attacks, or shooting at Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Against this backdrop, the number of weapons in the hands of the PA is a cause for concern. Before the PA was established, terrorists in Judea, Gaza, and Samaria had highly limited means of inflicting violence on the citizens of Israel. Terrorist attacks were characterized by knifings, the use of old grenades, and pistol attacks—not Kalashnikov rifles and certainly not rockets fired at Israeli cities.
Since Israel first provided great quantities of weapons to the PA under the Oslo Accords, many additional agreements have been concluded stating that Israel would transfer weapons to the PA or permit the transfer of weapons to the PA by a third party. Although the transfer of these weapons facilitated the murder of Israelis by terrorists starting in the 1990’s and especially during the 2000’s, such agreements have continued to be forthcoming, and overly so.
The ISA, by its own admission, does not have information about the weapons that Israel permitted to be transferred to the PA.
The central paragraphs of the agreements between Israel and the PA addressed these weapons, their transfer, keeping tabs oמ their location, and the purposes for which they were to be used. However, in response to a letter sent by the Almagor Terror Victims Association in June 2006, the ISA admitted that “the agency does not have the requested information.” This embarrassing lack of coordination permits the PA and its workers to transfer weapons anywhere without the knowledge of Israeli security bodies—thus posing a threat to Israeli population centers.
During a June 2006 lawsuit to prevent the transfer of weapons to the PA, Almagor illustrated that transferring weapons to the PA led time and again to terrorist attacks by PA employees and to the “leakage” of weapons to terrorist organizations. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court chose to view the matter as “political” and not to intervene.