Palestinian committee: PA has done nothing to impose order
PLC panel's report says Qureia has not dealt with armed militias or struggles among security services.
The Palestinian cabinet has never once discussed the security chaos in the territories, nor has Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia ever asked it to do so, according to an investigative committee set up by the Palestinian Legislative Council. The panel was charged with examining the Palestinian Authority's ongoing failure to impose order on armed Palestinian gangs and militias.
The committee's report, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, said that despite Qureia's repeated public comments about the need to impose order on the armed gangs, in practice, his government failed to make any attempt to deal with either the armed militias or the power struggles among the various Palestinian security services that impeded action against these militias.
It also found that there was a "clear failure in implementing the reform and development plan, as well as in the war against corruption."
Implementation of this reform plan was one of the international community's conditions for progress toward a Palestinian state.
The committee's first recommendation - to oust Qureia's government - was adopted by a large majority of the PLC on Monday. The committee is also demanding the ouster of all the heads of the Palestinian security services and their deputies because of their failure to keep the peace. The panel wants them replaced by individuals who will "honor their obligations to the Palestinian Authority and the people."
The panel, chaired by PLC Deputy Speaker Hasan Khraysha, investigated a long list of crimes and attacks against Palestinian civilians, PA officials, and both public and private institutions. It found that in almost none of these cases was any action taken against the suspects, and even when action was taken, the suspects were generally quickly released for "irrelevant reasons."
Among the incidents it investigated were the assassination of Mussa Arafat; several kidnappings of foreigners, including journalists and aid workers; attacks on PA offices in both Ramallah and Gaza, including the PLC's offices in Gaza; gun battles between various branches of the PA security services; and military activities by opposition groups. These included two incidents involving Hamas that together killed 23 people - one in which weapons at a Hamas rally in Jabalya exploded, and another in which explosives stored by Hamas in the Sajahiyeh neighborhood blew up.
Qureia, whom the committee invited to respond to its complaints, tried to cast the blame on Interior Minister Nasser Yousef and on Israel. "The security services were destroyed by the Israeli occupation and there is competition between their leaders," he said. "The interior minister claims that he has no capabilities and no one wants to give him any."
Moreover, Qureia continued, the National Security Council, which is supposed to oversee the security services, "is not functioning because of the interior minister's stance.
But while it agreed that Yousef was partly to blame, the PLC committee held Qureia equally responsible for the failures. It also indirectly criticized PA head Mahmoud Abbas, saying that efforts to build a functioning justice system, which Abbas has championed, have been "an utter failure."