GAZA CITY Ñ The Palestinian Authority has offered to open its
security agencies to Fatah militants.
Palestinian sources said at least one PA security chief relayed an offer
to provide a job to any Fatah militant who pledges to surrender his weapon
and abandon the war against Israel. The offer also includes a cash
So far, the offer has been relayed by General Intelligence chief Col.
Tawfiq Tirawi. Tirawi, who heads the GI in the West Bank, is wanted by
Israel for allegedly directing attacks against Israeli civilians. At the
same time, Tirawi has begun to cooperate with the U.S. Central Intelligence
Agency and is relaying information to Israeli intelligence.
The sources said the PA's offer seeks to focus on insurgents in the
Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The brigade began as an umbrella
group for all Palestinian factions but is now regarded as the military wing
of the ruling Fatah movement, led by PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, Middle East Newsline reported.
Fatah has refused to honor the truce announced on Sunday. The movement
claimed responsibility for the shooting attack that killed a Bulgarian truck
driver in the northern West Bank on Monday near Jenin.
In Israel, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on laborers. On early
Tuesday, a Palestinian fired toward Israeli soldiers near the West Bank city
of Tulkarm. Israeli troops returned fire and killed the assailant.
The PA plans to extend the offer of employment in the security agencies
to fighters from other insurgency groups. The sources said this would
include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has
rejected an agreement for a three-month truce with Israel.
Tirawi's plan, the sources said, would bestow the rank of officer to any
Fatah insurgent who abandons the war against Israel. They said Tirawi has
also promised to provide a "generous" sum of money to those who surrender
their weapons and join the security agencies.
In the late 1990s, PA security agencies absorbed scores of Hamas
insurgents in an attempt to co-opt the Islamic movement. The Hamas
insurgents were organized in a special agency that saw little action.
On Sunday, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice met Israeli
and PA leaders. Israeli officials said Ms. Rice said she opposed the
construction of an Israeli security fence along the West Bank. Ms. Rice said
such a fence would serve Israeli political interests in negotiations with
the Palestinians for a state with permanent borders, set for 2005.
Israeli officials said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Ms. Rice that
the government would not lift the siege from Arafat's headquarters in the
West Bank city of Ramallah.