Frisch, a senior research fellow at Israel's BESA Center for Strategic Studies and senior lecturer at the department of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, argues that it is easier to develop a terrorist infrastructure than to unite one's forces under an organized military.
In the heyday of the Oslo peace process, Yasser Arafat created approximately seventeen different security forces, all of which were doing much the same thing. The Palestinians also established the General Security Services, an umbrella organization set up to coordinate the work of several disparate units. Today, the Palestinian security establishment consists of border police, military intelligence, military police, and a presidential security unit.
These forces, including intelligence units, grew out of the military wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the militias that had served as Arafat's bodyguards during his Jordanian, Lebanese, and Tunisian years. The Palestine Liberation Army was founded in 1965, and its forces, including a small air force and navy, trained with sympathetic Arab militaries.
Frisch shows that having so many security apparatuses was Arafat's way of ensuring he remained in power. The security forces protected his regime from possible coups and reduced the threat of mutiny and insubordination. This labyrinthine system pitted security units against each other and ensured that the military would never grow strong enough to depose him.
The system worked only as long as Arafat himself was on the scene. Since his death, cracks have emerged. Today, the Palestinian security forces continue to be a haphazard collection of units with varying levels of armament. Moreover, as internal fragmentation within Palestinian society has continued to grow since Arafat's death and as clashes between Fatah and Hamas have escalated, the likelihood of a unified military front is becoming more and more a pipe dream. Hamas's military offensive in June 2007 crushed Fatah's political and military positions throughout the Gaza Strip. West Bank security is maintained by Israel although some now argue for cooperation with Fatah units, which have lately received yet more training and arms from the U.S. military.
Hamas's 2006 electoral victory in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority's control of the West Bank demonstrate how anti-Israeli terrorism is the preferred ideology used to "govern" Palestinian society. This also explains Gaza's transformation into a united, terrorist front that has brought together many groups otherwise at odds with one another, including Al-Qaeda, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an "Iranian embassy," and many more.