GAZA, July 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The Palestinian territories witnessed a serious political and security crisis, the first of its kind since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), in the wake of Friday's kidnappings of two top Palestinian security officials and four French citizens in Gaza.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has taken urgent
measures and procedures to confront the situation and issued a presidential
decree on unifying the eight security services into three.
Other measures also included discharging people and
appointing others in important security posts.
On Saturday, the PNA declared a state of emergency in
Gaza in order to prevent chaos following the kidnappings and reports about the
senior officials' resignations and the new appointments.
At the conclusion of an emergency meeting of his
cabinet on Saturday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei affirmed that he had
submitted his resignation to Arafat.
"I discussed with the president about my resignation
that I submitted earlier today and issues pertaining to the public security,"
Qurei told reporters.
The premier refused to talk about Arafat's position but
Minister without portfolio Qaddura Fares said Arafat refused the resignation.
A Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member close
to Qurei said, "He submitted his resignation, but Arafat asked him to withdraw
it and announced the reorganization of the security services."
Noting that there is a real crisis and what happened
is a disaster, Qurei said he would hold a session of the government on Monday to
discuss his resignation and hold consultations on issues and developments on the
Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said the PLC Speaker
Rawhi Fattouh also decided to submit his resignation in protest against the
deterioration of the conditions in Gaza.
One reason for Fattouh's resignation was that the
laws ratified by the PLC were not published in the Palestinian Gazette and not
implemented and the security services were not unified, they added.
According to informed sources, Amin al-Hindi, chief
of the Palestinian Intelligence Apparatus, and Rashid Abu Shbak, head of the
Preventive Security Apparatus in Gaza Strip, are still staying at their homes
although Arafat had refused their resignations.
Arafat issued Saturday morning a presidential decree
appointing Maj. Gen. Musa Arafat as head of the General Security in Gaza, in
addition to his post as head of the Military Intelligence Apparatus.
Arafat also appointed Maj. Gen. Sa'eb al-Ajez as head of
the Palestinian police to succeed Ghazi al-Jabali, who was kidnapped on Friday
and later released on condition that he is sacked for corruption.
A Palestinian official said police reinforcements
have been deployed around the public institutions, ministries and the
Palestinian News Agency.
He said leaves and vacations of all security services
and policeare suspended on a temporary basis to confront the situation.
Sameer Mashharawi, a member of Fatah Higher
Committee, said "what happened in Gaza is a disgrace to the PNA and might push
the Palestinian society towards a real crisis."
"What happened in Gaza was expected and we warned of
this in thepast. There is no rule of law in the Palestinian lands and citizen
does not feel the presence of authorities. I believe the situation might
deteriorate more in the future," said a PLC member Nabil Amre.
Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and
the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) issued statements on
The DFLP's statement warned about the danger of the
continuationof security chaos, saying that it is affecting the security and
safety of the citizen and distorting the image of the Palestinian people and
Hamas emphasized on the sanctity of the Palestinian
blood, rejecting the method of kidnapping and other methods of force to handle
Palestinian internal disputes.
Such events harm the Palestinian unity and create a
state of chaos, Hamas said, adding that what happened proves the need to form a
unified Palestinian command from all Palestinian forces to lead the Palestinian
by Saud Abu Ramadan