Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just What Does the Palestinian Authority Control?

This article, which appeared in the Jerusalem Post, brings up a number of obvious rhetorical questions.

•Does the Palestinian Authority control anything?

We know it doesn't control Gaza, aka Hamastan, so that already any agreement reached with it would be worthless.

In the Palestinian Arab civil war, Hamas booted Fatah out of Gaza, but supposedly Fatah, through the Palestinian Authority, still controls Judea and Samaria. The chair of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the leader of the PLO and Fatah, appointed Salaam Fayad as the PA prime minister.

Perhaps the best attribute Fayad has going for him, at least as judged by sane outsiders, is that he's not tainted by membership in either Hamas or Fatah.

Now the Aksa Martyr's Brigade, which is part of Fatah, are calling for the assassination of Fayad. (Apparently, his resignation would not satisfy their blood lust.)

This is very confusing, since Fayad was appointed by, and is seemingly still supported by, the leader of Fatah, who is at least theoretically the overall leader of the Aksa Martyrs Brigade.

So, does the leader of Fatah lead Fatah? If he doesn't even lead Fatah, or Fatah doesn't control its own "armed wing," ie one of its terrorist arms, why does anyone bother negotiating with him?

•Do the Palestinian Arab terrorist groups compete against each other or cooperate with each other?

Here, the answer is pretty clear. When it helps them murder innocent Israelis, they cooperate; when one of them thinks it can gain popular support by murdering innocent Israelis without help from the others, it competes.

•Does it really matter?

Aksa Martyrs Brigades calls for Fayad's assassination

Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Post
Dec. 31, 2007

Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, on Sunday called for the murder of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad for "collaboration" with Israel and the US.

This was the first time the group has openly called for Fayad's assassination. In the past, the group distributed leaflets strongly condemning Fayad and calling for his dismissal.

Fayad has been under heavy criticism from some Fatah leaders and activists, who accuse him of denying them public funds and plotting to undermine Fatah's grip on power. Other Fatah leaders have also accused Fayad of seeking to consolidate his power with the hope of replacing Mahmoud Abbas as PA president.

The threat was made in a leaflet distributed by the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip. Some Fatah officials in Ramallah sought to distance themselves from the threat, claiming that the leaflet had been forged. They even went as far as accusing Hamas of being behind it.

"The command of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip calls on all its elements and striking forces in the West Bank to immediately eliminate the so-called Salaam Fayad," the leaflet said. It claimed that Fayad's Ramallah-based government was working for Israel and the US.

Calling on Abbas to fire the Fayad government, the leaflet criticized Fayad for cutting off the salaries of many Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip. It also attacked him for allowing the PA security forces in Bethlehem to hand over to Israel three Israelis who had entered the city on Saturday.

"We call on all our members and the policemen in the West Bank not to obey orders from the Fayad government, because it's serving an American agenda and helping Israel eliminate the Aksa Martyrs Brigades," the group continued. It also called to fire PA Interior Minister Abdel Razzak al-Yahya for announcing that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank had been dismantled.

Meanwhile, the PA claimed that Friday's attack near Hebron, in which two Israelis were killed, was "criminally motivated." PA Information Minister Riad al-Malki told reporters in Ramallah that he was not ruling out the possibility that the attack was the result of a "dispute" between arms dealers, hinting that the victims had come to sell weapons to their assailants.

PA security officials in Hebron repeated the claim, arguing that there was no evidence that the attack had been carried out for other reasons. At least three groups have claimed responsibility for the attack - Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Over the weekend, the IDF arrested a number of Fatah members in Hebron on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

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