Monday, April 24, 2006

Abbas Nixes Hamas Security-Force Plans

The British promise made bad.

In their sharpest dispute yet, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday blocked the ruling Hamas party's plans to set up a shadow security force made up of militants and headed by the No. 2 fugitive on Israel's wanted list.

Abbas, who favors peace talks with Israel, and Hamas, which has refused to renounce its calls for the Jewish state's destruction, have been on a collision course since the militant group took control of parliament and Cabinet earlier this year.

The shadow force announced Thursday by Interior Minister Said Siyam of Hamas was seen as an attempt to counter Abbas' moves to take control of all the powerful Palestinian security forces.

But Abbas, like Israel and the international community, was outraged by the notion of a militants' army headed by the leader of a group that is a key player in ongoing rocket attacks on Israel and is suspected in a deadly 2003 bombing of an American convoy in the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, he used his considerable power to issue a presidential decree vetoing the plan.

In related news, a growing barrage of Israeli pressure against Hamas, a senior military commander said Israel is actively preparing to reoccupy the Gaza Strip and a powerful lawmaker said the entire Palestinian Cabinet could be targeted for assassination after the appointment of a wanted militant to head a new security force.

Who is the aggressor here? Abbas is saying that he doesn't want a militant in charge of the security force, and Israel responds by threatening to retake Gaza and assassinate the Palestinian cabinet???? More on Israel in a moment.


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