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Palestinian security crisis mounts following Gaza kidnappings
www.chinaview.cn 2004-07-18 22:53:28

    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 Palestinian arena.

    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 events.

    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 their struggle.

    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 people. Enditem

    by Saud Abu Ramadan

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