Palestinian police stations in the West Bank soon will undergo modernization of their information technology systems courtesy of the Obama administration, which is arranging to retrofit the law enforcement facilities with new IT equipment.
U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor has discovered, however, that details of the endeavor largely remain shrouded in secrecy.
The U.S. Department of State recently disclosed the $268,000 contract via the FedBizOpps database, where the Monitor located the award during routine research. Despite finding in the database Contract Award no. SGE50012C0109 – which merely refers to Solicitation No. SGE50012R0120 – an exhaustive search produced zero results for the solicitation and supporting records such as a Request for Proposals or a Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition, or JOFOC , document.
The State Department either did not open the endeavor to competitive bidding or simply neglected to publicly make available – as required by federal contracting regulations – an initial solicitation for bids.
Even in the case of the contractor, Excellent Systems Inc., whose location is listed as “Al Falah Building-Fourth floor, Al Quds Street, Ramallah, West Bank” – the Monitor could not locate an Internet presence for the company.
A Google search for Excellent Systems produced a hit reading “Feb 17, 2006. … Our current focus is to implement web-based information portal systems, largely using Microsoft technologies. These are web sites either on the … www.excellentsystems.us/.”
Any attempt to click through to the site, however, only leads to the message “Directory Listing Denied. This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed.”
The West Bank police project is unrelated to other – significantly more costly – U.S.-funded initiatives. As the Monitor recently reported, the Obama administration had separately committed $300 million toward West Bank and Gaza construction projects , expenditures deemed critical toward attaining the “success of a future Palestinian state.”
It is also separately slated an additional $750 million for what is known as the Infrastructure Needs Project Phase II.
The combined value of these initiatives equals about a quarter of U.S. Agency for International Development assistance to the Palestinians since 1994. Indeed, to accommodate the agency’s growing West Bank-Gaza portfolio, USAID recently began a recruitment campaign for a senior technical and policy adviser.
The position is designed “to help strengthen and advance infrastructure development and capacity strengthening,” according to a Personal Services Contract document. The selected individual contractor will serve as the administration’s “primary adviser” on such issues, which the document acknowledged are “often surrounded by an unusually high degree of political sensitivity, especially as they relate to potentially controversial, high profile Middle East peace process issues.”
The adviser will work with key stakeholders within the Palestinian Authority “to help build the institutions and foundational infrastructure of a viable, democratic Palestinian state living in peace and security with Israel.”
“President Obama’s goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a core United States (U.S.) national security objective and the long-term focus of the USAID West Bank and Gaza,” it added.
A similar version of this article originally appeared via WND.com Oct. 29, 2012.