Five different Palestinian Authority security organizations, including Force 17 and the General Intelligence, remain under the direct command of Chairman Yasser Arafat - and this can be seen as the first substantial breach of one of the important security clauses of the U.S. road map for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A complaint along these lines has been relayed to the Americans and the matter is now a central talking point between Israeli officials and U.S. representatives.

The road map explicitly stipulates that Palestinian security organizations will be combined into three services that report to the PA interior minister.

The reorganization following the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as PA prime minister have produced a very different arrangement. The PA security organization's seven separate mechanisms have not been reduced to three. The Interior Ministry where Mohammed Dahlan is minister for state affairs has authority over just two security organizations - the counter-intelligence apparatus and the uniformed police.

Arafat remains in charge of five different security organizations - General Intelligence, the National Security Forces, Force 17, Military Intelligence and the naval forces.

To place his five organizations under something of a new and separate command, Arafat has set up a new body, the National Security Council, in which the PA chairman's close associate and former PA interior minister Hanni al-Hassan has a central role. Clearly this is a false reorganization that is designed to leave things as they were and allow Arafat to retain separate and independent military powers, far from the watchful eye of Abu Mazen.

A number of the organizations under Arafat - Force 17, for example - have been directly involved in acts of terrorism. As far as Israel is concerned, these organizations have been terror groups for all intents and purposes, and many of Israel's reprisals have been directed against them. The redistribution will weigh heavy on Israel's security cooperation with Abu Mazen's government.

It's clear that if this reorganization received the Palestinian Legislative Council's stamp of approval, Arafat will get a special budget to maintain his security organizations, just as the organizations under Abu Mazen and Dahlan will receive budgets.

Agreements with the counter-intelligence organization will be put into question because alongside it there are Palestinian security organizations over which the PA Interior Ministry and Mohammed Dahlan will have no say, further compounding the problem when it comes to facing off against Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which are armed with illegal weapons.

Abu Mazen and Dahlan will also face a tough problem in that the PA will play host to another five armies over which they have no power. Under such circumstances, Abu Mazen's chances of eradicating terror are very slim.

This is a negative outcome the Americans wished to avoid, and they persuaded their partners to the road map to insist on a reduction in the number of security organizations and to bring them all under a single entity convinced of the need to eradicate terror.

The situation poses a very tough problem for Israel and the Americans. One way to tackle it would be to resort to the old system adopted in the wake of the Oslo accords, when the approach was to disregard various violations and take solace in the fact that progress in general was being made in implementing the agreements. The Americans supported this approach and did not make a fuss about the incitement, the arms smuggling or the establishment of illegal settlement outposts.

In retrospect, this approach was clearly a big mistake that constituted one of the principal causes for further violations and the failure of the Oslo accords. Clearly, if they return to the old approach of lying to themselves, the Americans will not have the moral authority to argue that Israel is not, for example, dismantling outposts that were established in the territories after March 2001.

Another way of tackling the problem is to insist on the fulfillment of the details of the road map immediately at its outset - particularly with regard to a one-time move such as a reduction in the number of security organizations and their placing under the authority of the Interior Ministry. This would be in contrast with, for example, an ongoing process such as rounding up of illegal weapons or the indictment of individuals involved in acts of terror.

If concessions are made to one side in any particular field, the other side will surely come out with similar claims when approached with a demand to uphold its part of the understandings.