The American Army general advising Palestinian security forces has requested retirement, according to sources in the Pentagon. The adviser, Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, has held his current post for five years.The retirement request must be approved by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who had previously asked Dayton to extend his tour.
Dayton faced some controversy last year when Israeli officials accused him of training a Palestinian army that could be used against them. The Obama administration responded that the four hundred Palestinian men trained under US supervision would only be used to accomplish Israel’s objectives in the Palestinian Territories.
In the past two years, Palestinian security forces have operated in line with Israel. They have arrested people supportive of the democratically elected Hamas party in several towns. The security forces also close roads and cordon towns in support of Israeli military operations.
Though Israeli authorities say that the American-trained security forces are competent, the Israeli army continues to maintain over six hundred checkpoints in the West Bank and to hold the entire Palestinian population under martial law.