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Palestinian Recruits Hit Streets Unprepared

Schwartz said the unit involved in that exercise "was given additional training before returning to the Palestinian Authority," adding, "It achieved the standard."

The American, who talked on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, also spoke of the training supervisors putting on what he called "a dog-and-pony show" when U.S. congressional delegations or other visitors came to the site.

Visitors "do a bus tour where they view various training sessions that are completely staged," the American said.

"At times, we have had students standing around for hours waiting to put on this show," the American said. "We have lost entire training days and at least half a day a number of times. The problem is that this training is never made up."

In Washington, a State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, called the allegation "complete baloney."

"There is no way anyone could set up a Potemkin village," the official said.

But Steve Smith, a veteran of international police training programs, resigned from this one in protest over what he said was inadequate training, equipment and curriculum being provided to the Palestinians.

In a letter to Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.), Smith said the students received "communication training with no radios, drivers training with no vehicles, mounted patrol tactics without vehicles, no course handouts or student manuals."

The recruits, he wrote, were not ready for deployment.

"I believe in the peace process, in the two state solution, and in General Dayton's idea that a viable Palestinian security force is necessary for peace," Smith wrote. "Unfortunately, the training program will not achieve that goal without significant additional training."

Knickmeyer reported from Cairo. Staff writer Glenn Kessler in Washington contributed to this report.


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