Wednesday, July 30, 2003

This New York Times article reveals some of the things that the mainstream media hasn't picked up yet, claiming that the Palestinian Authority has done absolutely nothing. PA security minister Dahlan explains the situation in the West Bank and the measures he will take.

"Until now, Israel is not serious," said Mr. Dahlan, who is also playing a leading role in negotiations with Israel. The Palestinian security forces have only a limited capacity in the West Bank because of the continued Israeli presence, he said. But they were prepared to take tougher action in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces pulled back on June 29, the day the Palestinian truce was declared. "Anyone who wants to break the truce, we will take them to court," Mr. Dahlan said in an interview at his private office. The Israeli military has destroyed most Palestinian security buildings, and Mr. Dahlan is still waiting to move into a new government office.

The comments by Mr. Dahlan reflected the current state of affairs in the Middle East peace process. Violence is down sharply since the truce was announced. But each side accuses the other of failing to meet its obligations under the peace initiative, known as the road map. Israel says the Palestinians must not only prevent attacks, but must disarm, arrest and break up Palestinian factions planning violence.

But Mr. Dahlan says the Palestinians already have done much, and cannot be expected to do more unless Israel meets its requirements, which include pulling out of Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank. Even if the Israelis pull out, Mr. Dahlan said the Palestinian security forces were not prepared to track down militants in Hamas and other groups that were observing the cease-fire. "I cannot go after Hamas now while they are committed to the truce," Mr. Dahlan said. His remarks were in line with those of the Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, who said a confrontation with Hamas and other factions could lead to battles among Palestinian factions.

Since the truce, Mr. Sharon and Israeli security officials have acknowledged that the Palestinians have been working to halt attacks in ways they had not done since the fighting began in September 2000. Mr. Dahlan said the security forces had prevented "at least seven terror acts" coming from the West Bank during the last month, and confiscated explosives in several instances. "We take the materials, but we can't arrest them," Mr. Dahlan said. "I am a volunteer until now in the West Bank. I have no responsibilities there. I cannot arrest them because the Israelis are there."


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