RAMALLAH ø Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has launched
a campaign of intimidation against dissidents of the ruling Fatah movement
in the West Bank.
Palestinian sources said the campaign has included attacks on Arafat
critics, telephone threats to Fatah dissidents and the breaking up of
gatherings held to discuss reforms.
Meanwhile, the leader of the anti-Arafat revolt has been identified as former PA
Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan was said to have garnered Egyptian
and U.S. support and funds for his so-called pro-reform campaign, Middle East Newsline reported.
"Arafat is sitting on the corpses and destruction of the Palestinians at
a time when they're in desperate need of a new mentality," Dahlan told the
Kuwaiti daily Al Watan. "What has happened in Gaza is an expression of our
demands for reform."
Dahlan, who later denied speaking to Al Watan, gave Arafat an Aug. 10
deadline to implement genuine reform
within the PA and dismiss the chairman's nephew, security chief Mussa
Arafat. He warned that 30,000 Palestinians were being organized to march
against the PA chairman in the Gaza Strip.
"The Palestinian situation will not tolerate corruption, and there is no
alternative to the reforms that Arafat himself has authorized," Dahlan said.
So far, a leading Palestinian legislator has been shot and seriously
wounded. Former PA minister Nabil Amr was shot in the leg by Arafat-aligned
gunmen and taken to Germany where his limb was amputated.
On Sunday, Arafat agents broke up a conference of Fatah dissidents in
Nablus that included 70 of the 88 members of the PLC. About 20 gunmen
identified as members of the Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades burst
into the conference in Ramallah and shot their weapons in the air.
Nobody was injured but the meeting ended. The conference, which drafted
an appeal to Arafat, had been scheduled to last a week.
"President Arafat, this might be the last chance to reform our situation
before we reach the end," the letter by Fatah dissidents said. "We need a
revolution within our Fatah movement."
The sources said Arafat has stepped up measures to prevent threats to
his rule in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Fatah dissidents have captured
several PA arsenals and installations.
[Palestinian gunners fired two Kassam-class short-range missiles
toward Israel. One of the missiles slammed into an empty apartment in the
Israeli city of Sderot. Nobody was injured in Monday's attack.]
On Monday, a PA security officer hurled two grenades in the main PA
Gaza City where those suspected of collaborating with Israel were being
held. Seven inmates were injured.
Hours later, Islamic Jihad insurgents ambushed one of the inmates who
had arrived at a Gaza City hospital for treatment. The insurgents shot and
killed the inmate, identified as Mohammed Sharif, accused of having helped
Israel assassinate a Jihad commander in the mid-1990s.