Policing in Palestine: Analyzing the EU Police Reform Mission in the West Bank

International efforts for security sector reform (SSR) and state building more broadly, have faced major challenges in the Palestinian Territories. Donor countries struggled to overcome an unwillingness at home to use aid funding for police reform purposes, while managing Israeli obstructionism and security concerns, rivalries between Palestinian police generals and a lack of Palestinian preparedness for the technical and practical aspects of police reform. In this context, the European Union Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EU COPPS) was established in 2005 as an EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) mission; the European Union Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EUPOL COPPS), the followup EU police mission, began in 2006. The role of EUPOL COPPS was to provide support to the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) for immediate operational priorities and longer-term transformational change. As efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught the international community, police reform is not as easy as the train-and-equip standard. Especially in postconflict environments, rebuilding the police should take into account the communities’ needs in order to build legitimacy for the institutions of government. This paper seeks to fill the gap of evaluation in the field of police reform efforts by answering the following questions: How should international actors think about police reform efforts in a subordinate, non-juridical and only partially empirical state, and what role do the monitoring and evaluation of police reform efforts play?

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