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For those who keep thinking that the Mahmoud Abbas era of Palestinian politics has anything new to offer, the news keeps offering one rebuttal after another. Reuters reports today that key Palestinian Authority security figures have no intention of disarming terrorists within Gaza or the West Bank, despite the roadmap initiatives for peace and any pledges made by Abbas to the Israelis:
The Palestinian Authority reiterated Wednesday it had no intention of disarming militants despite constant Israeli calls for such a move and a recent pledge to crack down on unlicensed weapons.
The announcement came amid growing friction between armed factions and security forces following the arrest of two Hamas men after a gunfight Monday night. The militants were accused of planning to attack Israel in defiance of a cease-fire.
"We have no intention of withdrawing arms of resistance," Rashid Abu Shbak, the head of the internal Preventive Security Service, told a news conference in Gaza.
One of the key agreements between the various parties involved in arranging for a Palestinian state was that the PA had to get control of security within its territories, and in order to do that, the various militias (terrorist groups) had to be disarmed. In addition, those militias that the PA wished to transform into a state security system would have to come under complete PA control. Now the PA has announced that it has no intention of fulfilling that mandate.
I have written in the past about the Palestinian triangulation strategy, or the three-step, in which one or two of the main players of force agree to cease-fires but a third balks. This allows them to continue attacks on Israelis until they get the counterattack that "justifies" further terrorism from all three. Disarming the militias makes it almost impossible to use this highly successful political strategy in the future.
It also points out the domestic politics in play. One CQ reader took me to task the other day for writing that Palestinians don't desire peace, saying that I painted them with too broad a brush. Well, the Palestinians keep electing Hamas in overwhelming numbers, first by over 65% of the vote in February civic elections and possibly even higher numbers later this month, if the polling bears out. The PA doesn't operate in a political vacuum; if the Palestinians didn't support the terrorists, they'd already have disarmed them, or banished them altogether from the territories. It's a conundrum that has effectively trapped the few Palestinians in the PA who really want a negotiated solution. They've lionized the people who kill women and children in buses and shopping malls for so long that they created an overwhelming political obstacle to getting rid of them now.
Notice, however, that the PA does have some rules for use of weaponry that they're willing to impose on terrorists:
Abu Shbak said militants must still honor their commitment to the cease-fire agreed by President Mahmoud Abbas and should not take their weapons out in public.
"Arms of resistance should not be displayed in streets. Arms of resistance should not be used in family feuds. Arms of resistance should not kill a woman who goes out with her fiance," he said, referring to the recent killing by two Hamas militants of a woman they accused of immoral behavior.
Shbak fails to mention that terrorists should not shoot or attack Israeli citizens -- just that they shouldn't let their weapons be seen on the way to or from such an attack. This statement is truly emblematic of the Palestinian commitment to peaceful co-existence with Israel.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Here's what I Ripped and Read in my Podcast today: Palestinians Refuse to Disarm Militants Captain Ed at the Captains Quarters notices a Reuters dispatch on the lack of progress in the peace process: For those who keep thinking that the Ma... [Read More]
Tracked on May 5, 2005 5:14 PM
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