politics, history and the war on terror
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Decay of the PA 

The situation in Gaza and the West bank has moved quickly in just the two days since the writing of The Road to Defeat. The security situation has deteriorated even further. Gaza's chief of police, who had been the target of previous attacks this year, was kidnapped and later released by factions of Arafat's own Fatah movement that accused him of corruption and abuse of power. French citizens performing charity work were also abducted and released. In a bid to quell the violence, Arafat appointed his relative, Musa Arafat, as chief of security in Gaza.  The move provoked a wave of protests and violence, as a security headquarters in the town of Khan Yunis is attacked, PA offices are burned and the PA police flee. Fatah supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, former minister of security in the PA, oppose the appointment of Musa Arafat and threaten further violence if he is not removed. Gaza has now been placed under a state of emergency, and several prominent members of its security apparatus resigned "because of the state of chaos and the lack of action by the Palestinian Authority to make reforms." Prime Minister Qureia has submitted his resignation due to the situation in Gaza.
"There is a crisis. There is a state of chaos in the security situation," Ahmed Qureia said after announcing his resignation as premier during a Cabinet meeting in the West Bank town of Ramallah.  Queria told Palestinian officials he had resigned "because of a series of internal and external issues that developed in the recent period," according to a statement from his office. He specifically cited the deteriorating security situation in Gaza.
Late last week, Arafat banned the U.N. Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen due to statements that were critical of Arafat's reform efforts and his commitment to the peace process.
Top advisors to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has called on militant groups to ban the United Nations senior envoy to the Middle East, Terje Roed-Larsen, from entering the Palestinian territories or meeting Palestinian officials, militant leaders said Friday. The call was the latest response by the PA to a briefing Tuesday to the Security Council, in which Larsen accused Arafat of causing the failure of attempts by Egypt and the international community to implement reforms in the PA security establishment.

A spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group with ties to Arafat's ruling Fatah movement, said on condition of anonymity that Arafat aides asked the group to release a statement in conjunction with Islamic Jihad barring Larsen from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  Palestinian officials were infuriated earlier this week when Roed-Larsen - long considered close to Arafat and sympathetic to the Palestinian cause - said at a UN Security Council briefing that Arafat was blocking vital reforms within the Palestinian Authority and accused him of hindering peace moves.

"People in Arafat's office called us and told us that Larsen's statements are just another part of the conspiracy to delegitimize Arafat," said the Al-Aqsa spokesman... They told us Larsen is now with Israel and America... They asked us to intervene to stop him in his tracks," he said
While it is difficult to determine the state of affairs within the chaotic Palestinian territories, we just may be witnessing the Palestinian Authority's demise. To obtain the release of his security personnel and the French citizens, Arafat was forced to negotiate with the very terrorists he has nurtured throughout the years. The appointment of Musa Arafat as chief of security in Gaza is a desperate move to consolidate power that also demonstrates Arafat's nepotism and corruption. It is a move that has infurated his increasingly bold and very deadly rivals. Influential leaders of the security forces are resigning in opposition to Arafat's corruption and the worsening state of security, leaving further holes in the lawless Palestinian territories. The refusal to admit the U.N. Middle East envoy in Gaza and the West Bank will not endear Arafat to some in the U.N. or in Europe, particularly since Arafat issued the threats via terror organizations Al-Aqsa and Islamic Jihad. And it demonstrates the willingness of the international community, however small, to recognize the failure of Arafat's government. The internal divisions within Fatah itself and the pressure being exerted by the terrorist groups makes for a fluid security situation that can lead to a change of government or a descent into chaos.

It is difficult to rule out Arafat; he is a survivor that rose from an exiled terrorist leader of the PLO to chairman of the Palestinian Authority, and has maintained his grip on power despite being isolated in his Ramallah compound during the current Intifada. But these days, one gets the impression that many in Gaza, the West Bank, and Fatah itself would not be terribly disappointed if Israel decided to direct a few Hellfire missiles at Arafat's Ramallah redoubt. Israel would be wise to let events run their course, as events within the Palestinian territories may yet create the conditions for a defeated enemy.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:08 AM