Saturday, March 06, 2004

Palestine: Descent into anarchy

From U2's Bullet the Blue Sky:
You plant a demon seed
You raise a flower of fire

Sounds like our demented brothers of palestine:

Palestinian house divided

By Alon Ben-David JDW Correspondent, Tel Aviv

Israeli and Palestinian security officials are expressing growing concern as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip descend into armed anarchy. Both sides are warning that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for unilateral withdrawal from Gaza will result in the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) taking over what is left of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Gaza.

After three-and-a-half years of conflict, in which the PA security organisations were severely damaged by Israel Defence Force (IDF) operations, armed gangs are taking control of the cities: gunfights between militants are waged daily, extortion and kidnapping are widespread and clan feuds are settled with vigilante justice, while PA President Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ahmad Qurea are struggling to regain control over their own faction - Fatah.

"It is true. Anarchy is taking over and it's a shame," Brig Gen Gibril Rajoub, national security adviser to the PA, told JDW. Gen Rajoub, the former head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS) in the West Bank, was one of the few Palestinian officials who dared to criticise the second Intifada when it was launched three-and-a-half years ago. His forces refrained from taking part in the fighting against Israel and in July 2002 he was dismissed by Arafat. Gen Rajoub was reinstated last August to counter the short-termed Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' demand to receive authority over Arafat's security organisations. "The Israelis are to blame for the current situation," said Gen Rajoub. "We have the will to restore order, but Sharon and Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz have destroyed all our security organisations."

Behind the scenes, Palestinian security officials are also blaming Arafat: "He is refusing to give up control of what remains of the security organisations and instead keeps playing the security chiefs off against one another," a senior Palestinian security official told JDW.

Many PA officials also fear for their own safety. In the West Bank town of Nablus alone, rival gang clashes have claimed the lives of 30 people in recent months, one of them the brother of Ghassan Shaka'a, mayor of Nablus, in a botched attempt to assassinate the mayor. "Nablus is torn between three gangs of Fatah operatives who fight over control, and the mayor tried to stand up against them," an Israeli security source explained. Mayor Shaka'a announced his resignation on 27 February: "When chaos prevailed and lawlessness became a daily ritual, preserving one's dignity became a top priority," he said in a letter published in Palestinian daily al-Ayyam. The mayhem has affected Arafat's own Fatah movement, which appears to be disintegrating into internecine conflict. In early February, hundreds of Fatah members resigned in protest over the lack of reforms in the movement and the PA.

Internal tensions reached a peak when a suicide bomber from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Fatah, killed eight Israelis in a bus in Jerusalem on 22 February. The instigators of the attack, Fatah operatives from Bethlehem, could not have picked a worse time: the day the UN International Court of Justice began hearing Palestinian complaints against Israel's construction of the 'Seam Zone' security fence in the West Bank.

let's be clear here, the responsibility for armed gangs running rampant in palestine is the PLO's fault. the actively encourage instability and violence. is it a coincidence that the violence has been reduced against israel, and is now being focused on palestine itself?

or do we dare mention that the infitada, the mistake of the decade, has killed loads of israelis...but most of the palestinian deaths have been at the hands of of...

other palestinians?

no surprise there. hezbollah, hamas, fatah, the plo, islamic jihad...all hyper aggressive, bloodletting organizations are fighting a losing war and are now attacking each other. no news here, just self imposed misery.

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