the thugs are coming clean, finally

  1. 237 Posts.
    Oct. 20, 2004 19:46 | Updated Oct. 21, 2004 8:31
    Fatah leader: PA forces are private fiefdoms

    The power struggle between rival Palestinian security services is the main reason behind the state of anarchy and lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a senior Fatah official said Wednesday.

    Sakher Habash, a veteran member of the Fatah Central Committee and close aide to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, accused the commanders of the Palestinian security forces of running the services as if they were private fiefdoms.

    He said Arafat was unable to replace the security chiefs for fear that such a move could trigger internecine fighting. "The security forces have become private fiefdoms of their commanders," he added.

    "Instead of being loyal to the Palestinian Authority, the security forces are loyal to their chiefs. President Arafat is trying to contain the situation in order to prevent a civil war."

    Habash said the main problem was that the security chiefs have been in office for many years. "These forces are responsible for the security chaos in the Palestinian territories," he charged.

    In an implicit reference to former security minister Mohammed Dahlan, whose supporters have been accused of launching a series of attacks against rival security forces in the Gaza Strip, Habash said: "When one of the security commanders is dismissed from his job, his force remains subordinate to him even if he's not in office. The situation is very serious and I fear that we are heading towards the abyss and that things would get out of control."

    The Fatah official called on Palestinians to rise against the "new mafia tribal leaders" and said a group of thugs in the security forces was sowing corruption and destruction in the Palestinian communities.

    Although Habash did not refer to Dahlan by name, top PA officials in Ramallah said the Preventative Security Service in the Gaza Strip has become a private militia under Dahlan's control. Dahlan served as head of the Service between 1994 and 2002, when he was fired by Arafat.

    Earlier this week, Dahlan's men were involved in gun battles with members of the Military Intelligence, headed by Gen. Musa Arafat. At least six security agents from both forces were injured in the heavy clashes in Gaza City on Monday and Tuesday. Dahlan has also been accused of being behind the assassination attempt on Gen. Arafat on October 12.

    In a related development, the Palestinian police announced that 735 cases of murder took place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2002. Figures released by the police showed that in 2003 alone there were 113 premeditated murders, most of which have not been solved.

    Musa Abdel Nabi, a senior PA police officer, explained that upsurge in crime to a number of factors, first and foremost the absence of the rule of law, ignorance and the existence of ancient tribal traditions in Palestinian society.

    Palestinian human rights activist Adnan Najjar attributed the murders to the state of anarchy prevalent in the Palestinian areas and the large number of firearms in the hands of individuals and various groups. "The absence of a proper judicial system and the rule of law have encouraged tribalism and large clans to take the law into their own hands," he said.

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