April 21, 2003

THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

Arafat rejects plan by Abu Mazen to disarm Fatah militia (Arnon Regular, 4/21/03, Ha'aretz)
The dispute between Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and Palestinian prime minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) over the formation of a new government centers around the latter's plans to dismantle Fatah's Al Aqsa Brigades and his intentions to deal with the other armed factions in the territories.

Most reports have focused on Abu Mazen's plan to make Mohammed Dahlan, the Gazan strongman and former head of the Preventive Security Services in the Gaza Strip, head of the new government's security services. However, Palestinian sources said the dispute actually revolves around the premier-designate's plans for establishing a new PA security policy, and whether he must win Arafat's approval for every decision he makes.

The sources said Abu Mazen's plans to disarm the underground armed wing of Fatah, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and how he will confront Hamas and Islamic Jihad are at the heart of the dispute.

Yasser Arafat can not be allowed to stand in the way of what may be the best chance ever for some kind of tolerable deal for the Palestinians. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 21, 2003 10:09 PM
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