European Union and Palestinian Authority representatives inaugurated eight new community police stations in the town of Aqraba next to the Palestinian city of Shechem in a move viewed as a concrete step towards a two-state solution.
“These infrastructures are the backbone of the rule of law and a cornerstone of a future democratic and viable Palestinian state,” commented EU Representative to the Palestinians Ralph Tarraf at the opening of the inauguration ceremony. “This is further evidence, if ever needed, of our full commitment to the two-state solution.”
The EU views the police stations as an essential component of a Palestinian state. “The rule of law is a basic requirement and is one of the main pillars of the future Palestinian state,” the EU Palestinian Delegation’s Communication Officer, Shadi Othman told Tazpit Press Service.
“Part of what we do is help build such law enforcement institutions while working with the different parts of the judicial system, including the police, which is the judicial system’s executive arm,” Othman added.
The construction of these new community police stations is also meant to instill in Palestinians a sense of pride and self-respect.
“It is also about providing the Palestinians with a sense of honor in that the Palestinians should feel that they themselves own these police forces,” Othman explained.
The EU has spent more than 30 million euros in the past five years supporting similar projects in the Palestinian Authority’s justice and security sectors along with the 6 million euros provided by the EU for the construction of these community police stations.
The EU’s investments in such projects have been geared towards building democratic institutions of the Palestinian Authority that abide by human rights, the rule of law, professionalism, and accountability.
Othman told TPS that the EU intends to ensure that such standards are maintained. “We monitor and follow the work of the Palestinian police as well as the progress that is made,” Othman said to TPS. “Whenever questions about certain violations arise, we follow up with the Palestinian side and we have an active dialogue with them on all such issues.”