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New York (JTA) — Seven Pales-
tinian policemen headed home
after completing a three-month
training program with the
Philadelphia Police Department.
"It was a very important ex-
perience to take back," said Sam-
meh Kannan, who headed the
Mr. Kannan, who spoke in a
telephone interview from
Philadelphia, said he would help
organize the Palestinian Au-
thority's new police academy in
The Philadelphia course placed
heavy emphasis on community
policing and non-violence, with
visits to the civil review board
and community groups, he said.
"They were very impressed
from the fact that the police were
not the supermen, that they have
rules and regulations," said Mar-
wan Kreidie, a leader of Philadel-
phia's Arab American
community. "A lot of them say
the word democracy, but they
don't know the concept. I think
they were very impressed by the
seriousness with which it's tak-
en here," said Mr. Kreidie, who
was instrumental in bringing
over the trainees.
When they first arrived, the
younger policemen would just
By the end, "the captain said
to me, They're questioning every-
thing,' " said Mr. Kreidie.
Mr. Kreidie and other local
Arab American leaders ap-
proached City Hall about invit-
ing the Palestinians at the
begirming of the year, after read-
ing about a similar delegation
from South Africa.
The police department had
previously hosted delegations
from Japan, Great Britain and
_Sweden, said James Golden, ex-
ecutive officer of the Philadelphia
During the training program,
the visiting officers joined
Philadelphia's police as they went
on patrol. They also visited crime
scenes, watched investigations
and saw how the civil affairs unit
Some officers focused on spe-
cialty areas such as dignitary pro-
tection, stakeout activities and
criminal investigations, Golden
How to handle demonstrations
was particularly sensitive for the
Palestinians, most of whom "were
part of the struggle against [the
Israeli] occupation for a long
time," said Mr. Kannan.
Mr. Kannan had previously
served with the Palestinian del-
egation to the bilateral peace
talks in Washington prior to the
Oslo Accords, which paved the
way for an Israeli-Palestinian ac-
cord in 1993.