There aren’t many reasons for optimism
regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict these days. But amid the failed
negotiations, diplomatic maneuverings, and occasional spasms of violence, one unsung
initiative has been an unalloyed success: The mission of the U.S. Security
Coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This hodgepodge staff
of military and civilian advisors, working together in the spirit of Lawrence’s
words, has trained more than 5,000 members of the Palestinian Authority Security
Forces (PASF), rebuilt Palestinian security institutions, and fostered a renewed
sense of relevance in the Palestinians’ nascent moves toward statehood.
The achievements of the USSC, which began
operations in 2005 and commenced training Palestinian security forces in 2007,
have formed the foundation of every claim of progress made by successive U.S.
administrations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The mission has been
integral to the re-establishment of stability and security in the West Bank for
Palestinians and Israelis alike — militias are off the streets, crime is down,
and basic order has largely returned.