RAMALLAH Ñ Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has threatened
to resign after his failure to prevent an escalation in the
Israeli-Palestinian insurgency war.
Palestinian sources said Abbas has accused Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser
Arafat of inciting Hamas to escalate attacks against Israel in an attempt to
undermine the new prime minister.
"Abbas is not kidding about resigning," a Palestinian source said. "He
is under great pressure and he doesn't operate well under pressure."
Abbas has told allies in the Fatah movement that he has been isolated in his efforts to achieve a ceasefire in the
Israeli-Palestinian war, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the threat by Abbas to resign has been augmented by warnings that his
Cabinet ministers will walk off their jobs.
Palestinian sources said several
ministers have given Abbas two weeks to assume control of the government and
end Israeli attacks on Palestinians.
Palestinian insurgency groups have been pressuring Abbas to resign or
renounce his offer for a reconciliation with Israel. The sources said
pressure has also come from Arafat's allies in Fatah for Abbas to quit.
The sources said Abbas has been lowering his profile amid the escalation
in attacks. They said Information Minister Nabil Amr and Security Affairs
Mohammed Dahlan have fulfilled many of
Abbas's functions in civilian and security policy.
In contrast, the sources said, Arafat has increased his profile and has
prepared a replacement for Abbas. The replacement has been identified as
Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Ahmed Qurei.
On Wednesday, Arafat met with Palestinian insurgency leaders and later
called for a ceasefire in cooperation with the United States, United
Union and Russia.
In Gaza City, Dahlan issued orders meant to increase police discipline.
The orders include a ban on releasing information to unauthorized
individuals or newspapers. Another order prohibits police officers from
taking bribes or other work. Offenders could be penalized by imprisonment or