Society–Military Relations in a State-in-the-Making: Palestinian Security Agencies and the “Treason Discourse” in the Second Intifada

The participation of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA’s) security agencies in the armed struggle against Israel in the second Palestinian uprising (2000–2005) is analyzed in this article as a response to the demand of Palestinian society, thus as a unique case of armed forces which, in the lack of political directive, became more attentive to public opinion. The article shows how Palestinian public discourse in the late 1990s–early 2000s, that was shaped by the Islamic movement of Hamas, portrayed the PA’s security officials as traitors. Members of the PA security agencies (mainly Fatah members) sought to reposition themselves in the “national camp,” and this motivated them to raise their weapons against Israeli targets. By doing so, they also removed the mental burden of turning their weapons against fellow Palestinians that was one of the major sources for their image as collaborators.