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

May 02, 2003

Already In Violation, Eh?

According to Ha'aretz, Arafat has wasted no time in staking his own road:
With the swearing-in of the new Palestinian cabinet on Wednesday came a presidential order from Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat for the establishment of a national security council to oversee all the PA's security mechanisms, including the counter-security apparatus, the uniformed police and the civil guard.

In keeping with the definition of powers of the Palestinian government, these security mechanisms are supposed to fall under the authority of PA Interior Minister Mohammed Dahlan. The move violates one of the clauses of the U.S.-backed 'road map' for Middle East peace, which calls for "all Palestinian security organizations [to be] consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered Interior Minister."

The national security council is to include Arafat, Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Dahlan, Arafat's personal security adviser Hani al-Hassan, Finance Minister Salam Fayyad and Palestinian national security commander Haj Ismail Jabar. Tawfik a-Tirawi and Faisel Abu Sarah - whose security mechanisms (General Intelligence and Force 17) remain under Arafat and need not answer to Dahlan - will also be on the council.

The establishment of the council and the activities of the General Intelligence and Force 17 security mechanisms go against clauses in the U.S. road map that concern a commitment on the part of Abu Mazen's government to unify all the PA security mechanisms into three divisions, all under the interior minister.

In practice, the establishment of the council empties the new structure of the Palestinian security services of its content and derogates from the ability of Abu Mazen and Dahlan to implement security reforms. In the forum of the council, Arafat is the senior figure and the council's discussions will presumably dictate the PA's security policies.
Deja vu?