Size of PA Police Force Exceeds Oslo Limits


The Palestinian Authority's (PA) police force is 60 percent larger than Israel's. The PA has deployed an estimated 40,000 police officers—one for every 60 residents. By comparison, the 25,000-person Israeli force represents a ratio of one officer for every 236 people.

According to the September 28, 1995, Interim Agreement (“Oslo 2 ”), the PA may deploy no more than 24,000 policemen in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Annex I, Article IV (3)). One source for the PA figure is the 1998 budget to the Palestinian Legislative Council presented by PA Finance Minister Muhammad Nashashibi on March 31, 1998, which included outlays for the salaries of 40,000 Palestinian policemen (Associated Press, March 31, 1998).

The peace accord also requires the PA to submit a list of all potential police recruits to Israel for approval to forestall the possibility that members of terrorist groups will join the PA security services (Annex I, Article IV(4)). The PA has thus far submitted only 18,400 names. Hence, 21,600 Palestinian policemen, or 54 percent of the total force, have not been approved by Israel.

In the Note for the Record attached to the January 15, 1997, Hebron Protocol, the PA reaffirmed its commitment that the “Size of Palestinian Police will be pursuant to the Interim Agreement.” The PA's current deployment exceeds the agreed limit set in the Oslo Accords by 16,000, or 66 percent.

Ratio of Policemen Per 1,000 Residents

(based on Interpol figures)
Palestinian Authority 16.7
Spain 4.5
Israel 4.2
France 4.0
Belgium 3.4
Germany 3.2
Switzerland 2.0

Source: Israeli Government Press Office.