ah....another democracy in the making

  1. 5,748 Posts.
    Oct. 6, 2003
    Arafat forms government, announces state of emergency
    By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

    Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat issued on Sunday night a "presidential decree" forming an emergency cabinet with eight ministers, headed by Ahmed Qurei as prime minister.

    Arafat also announced a state of emergency in the Palestinian controlled areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    PA officials said the move was aimed at paving the way for a crackdown on Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists following Saturday's suicide attack in Haifa, in which 19 people were killed.

    "President Arafat has decided to put an end to the state of chaos and anarchy in the Palestinian territories," said one official. "The new cabinet has been authorized to arrest all those who jeopardize Palestinian national interests." (and here I am ......believing that poor old Yasser can't do anything....his p.r. machine has been cranking out for years......the Israelis have destoyed their infrastructure.....they can't police anymore......what an utter load of crap......Snooker)

    Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine strongly condemned the decision to form a crisis cabinet and warned that the move could lead to a Palestinian civil war. They accused Arafat and Qurei of succumbing to American and Israeli pressure to form a security-oriented cabinet that would crack down on Palestinian terror groups.

    Qurei defended the decision, saying he would do his utmost to avert an armed confrontation with armed Palestinian groups. "We want a dialogue with all the factions, not a civil war," he stressed.

    He said the emergency cabinet was necessary in light of the exceptional circumstances in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, especially in the aftermath of Israel's threat to "remove" Arafat and following the suicide attack in Haifa, in which 19 people were killed.

    He said such a cabinet was needed to enable the Palestinian Authority to maintain a grip over a deteriorating security situation. "We have a deterioration of the security situation and we need to assert control over security," Qurei explained.

    "These are not military regulations or martial laws," Qurei said. "We are facing a crisis, threats and anarchy. There is a state of chaos, which can no longer be tolerated or accepted."

    In an implicit reference to the suicide attack in Haifa, Qurei said: "If we look at what's happening on the ground, we see that one person is capable of changing the course of events so as to affect the entire people. This has provided a cover for Israel to expand settlements, grab more land and build a separation fence - all under the pretext of security. Therefore we want to face the challenges by enforcing law and order."

    Qurei also said he would try to implement the road map plan for peace in the Middle East and "work to get out of this situation of chaos in the Palestinian territories."

    On Monday, Qurei submitted his resignation as PLC Speaker. His deputy, Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, will serve as acting Speaker until the council elects a replacement.

    The new cabinet is expected to hold its first meeting in Arafat's office on Tuesday immediately after it members are sworn in. Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Arafat, said the PA chairman would attend the cabinet meeting.

    According to the Palestinian Authority Basic Law, the emergency cabinet can function for a period of up to thirty days, and can be extended for another month only after the approval of two-thirds of the Palestinian Legislative Council members.

    Unlike previous cabinets, the emergency government does not require the approval of the PLC.

    The new cabinet includes many of the familiar faces such as Salam Fayyad and Nabil Shaath, who will retain their posts as ministers of finance and interior affairs respectively. Brig. General Nasser Youssef will take over as Interior Minister in charge of the security forces.

    The head of National Security in the West Bank, Haj Ismail Jabar, and head of General Intelligence in the Gaza Strip, Amin Al-Hindi, would serve as advisors to Youssef.

    The other five ministers are: Saeb Erekat, the current chief negotiator, Naim Abu Hummus, the current Education Minister; Jamal Shobaki, the current Minister of Local Government and two Fatah legislators, Abdel Rahman Hamad and Jawad Al-Tibi.

    Arafat's decree stated that the paramount task of the new cabinet is devoted to enhancing the national unity besides its other basic tasks.

    A pale and frail-looking Arafat told reporters on Sunday that the Israeli escalation aims at aborting the peace process and to thwart efforts to form a new cabinet.

    Hussein Al-Shiekh, a top Fatah operative in the West Bank, condemned Arafat's decision. "They are behaving as if the intifada is against the Palestinian Authority," he said. "The intifada is against the occupation and no one has the right to de-legitimize the struggle against the occupation. We are a people under occupation and we have the right to fight against this occupation. What does it mean that this government is now coming to tell us that its motto is to control the internal situation? This is a gift to [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon."

    The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which had initially agreed to join a broad cabinet, said it rejected the crisis cabinet, which "constitutes a political and security upheaval against the will of the people and the intifada."

    Palestinian legislator Azmi Shuaibi said Arafat had no right to amend the PA Basic Law under a state of emergency. "This is in the power of the prime minister, not President Arafat," he added. "Moreover, the Basic Law requires any cabinet, regardless of the circumstances, to seek the approval of the PLC."

    Another Palestinian legislator in Ramallah described the new cabinet as a "third-world military junta." He added: "This government does not require the ratification of the Palestinian Legislative Council and therefore it will not be held accountable for anything. There will be no supervision of any kind on the actions of the government. Everything will be done from now under the pretext of security. Many people might find themselves in prison without trial. Arafat is behaving like [former Uganda dictator] Field Marshall Idi Amin." (I've been saying that for yonks.......the p r i k must have been reading my posts on HC.....Snooker)
 
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