PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas will be too busy during the coming two-and-a-half months in the run up to Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections to honor his commitment to disarm terror groups engaged in the murder of Israeli Jews.
As soon as the January 26 election is behind him, Abbas promised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday, he would start fighting the Islamic terrorism that emanates from territories under his control. “After the elections in January we will totally prevent terrorist organizations from holding weapons, and anyone who carries a gun will be considered a criminal,” he said when the two met in Ramallah Monday afternoon.
Just yesterday the Jerusalem Post reported on two separate incidents within the Palestinian Authority’s domain:
Masked gunmen opposed to next January’s parliamentary elections on Monday stormed the offices of the Palestinian Authority’s Central Elections Committee in Rafah and demanded the cancellation of the vote. Armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and hand grenades, the attackers, who identified themselves as members of a previously-unknown group called Islamic Army, ordered the employees to close the offices immediately.
“They threatened us with their guns,” said one of the employees. “There were eight of them. The gunmen fled shortly before PA policemen arrived at the scene.” The attackers left behind a flier signed by the Islamic Army in which they claimed that the elections were being exploited by “collaborators” to ignite a civil war among the Palestinians. They also warned that the group would severely punish anyone who helps Israel in driving a wedge between the Palestinians.
In a separate development, dozens of gunmen occupied the headquarters of the PA local offices in Khan Yunis on Sunday night in the fifth incident of its kind in recent months. Eyewitnesses said at least 70 gunmen participated in the raid. They said the gunmen, all members of Fatah, were protesting against the PA’s failure to incorporate them into its security forces. Under pressure to end lawlessness and anarchy, the PA announced that it would launch major security operations in Nablus and Tulkarm on Tuesday to restore law and order. Residents of the two cities had repeatedly complained against various gangs roaming the streets and imposing a reign of terror on the local population.
All of which begs the question: what's the real difference between Abbas and Arafat? It’s certainly not the depth or complexity of the duplicity. In reality, with or without the January elections, Abbas has not garnered the enough support from the various and sundry fractions to exercise the most basic security for citizens in not just Gaza, but the West Bank as well. What is interesting is why the Bush Administration remains steadfast in their support of a naked emperor.