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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 17, 2003

If this is success...

Well the conference between Jack Straw and various Palestinian politicians was a success. Or at least according to the enthusiastic headline the New York Times, "Britain Calls Its Conference on Palestinian Reform a Success. The Times, to its credit notes the Israeli objection to the conference by getting a pretty good quote from Zalman Shoval:
"Then this same Yasir Arafat sends people who are part of his terrorist organization in order to bask in the diplomatic limelight in London . . . If the Palestinians want to effect reform, reform should be effected right here."
to end the article. A more thorough debunking of the Palestinian reform efforts is a available at the IDF website (an excellent resource; better than MFA sometimes) here:
"In the political sphere, after successfully muting the "change demanding" voices from within, calling for significant reform in the composition of the Palestinian government, Arafat is presently engaged in removing the international pressure to make administrative changes in the Palestinian Authority including appointing a fully empowered Prime Minister (as opposed to the capacity of the Prime-Ministerial office as described in the constitution that will only become valid in the future after the establishment of a Palestinian State).
In addition, Arafat displays a positive attitude regarding the "Road Map" and the reforms it implicates. However he channels these reforms in directions that are of no threat to his personal position and is in fact unwilling to concede to the primary demand that is the very foundation of the "Road Map" which is his withdrawal from the center of Palestinian decision making.
In the constitutional sphere, The Palestinians have recently undertaken intensive high media-profile action in an endeavor to establish a constitution for the future Palestinian State. This was done by the reappearance of the "Constitution Council" headed by Nabil Sha'ath intended to write an inaugural draft of the Palestinian Constitution by January 2003 in order to gain positive points with those who endorsed the advancement of the reforms in facets that do not obligate immediate implementation. The completion of the draft on the night of the "London Conference" was intended to conceal the lack of genuine and sincere action on the Palestinian side in other facets of the reform and to assist in shifting the "spotlight" to the demands stipulated of Israel.
In the security sphere, Arafat executed a number of personnel changes, appointing a new Internal Affairs Minister, dismissing the Chief of Police, Jabali, and the Head of Palestinian Preventive Security, Rajob. These measures were damaging to the performance of these apparatuses.
Regardless, Arafat maintains exclusive control over the Palestinian apparatuses. No genuine change has occurred in the manner in which the security apparatus acts or in its reputed activity against terror. The new Minister of Internal Affaires, Hani Alhasan, has yet to take real action to restore control and peace on the ground. Hani AlHasan recent Moves in the Gaza Strip are a manifestation of the increasing acknowledgment that action must be affected in light of the demands within and from abroad and concern over Israeli action in the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, This does not implicate a change in the policy towards terror factors in the Gaza Strip and does not include clear and encompassing instruction to act against them, but an attempt to reach understandings and agreements.
In the financial sphere, Minister of Finance Fiad led a number of positive meaningful acts that restrain Arafat's control of the Palestinian Authority budget and open the possibility of deeper transparency in the institutional monetary system. Notwithstanding, he has not yet been successful in preventing Arafat's involvement and control over a large portion of the assets that the Arafat himself owns."
Very worthwhile reading.
Cross Posted to David's Israel Blog