GAZA CITY Ñ The Palestinian Authority has drafted a plan for an
imminent crackdown on Islamic insurgency groups.
PA sources said the plan, meant to respond to the Hamas suicide bombing
in Jerusalem on Tuesday, was drafted by Security Affairs Minister Mohammed
Dahlan and approved by Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. But the sources said
the plan would not be launched until it is approved by PA Chairman Yasser
Under the proposal, PA police and security officers under the
responsibility of the Interior Ministry would raid dozens of strongholds of
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The sources said the forces
arrests, seize weapons and ban media interviews with insurgency leaders.
"At this point, the plan calls for a brief but intensive effort against
Hamas and Jihad," a PA source said. "The plan has been submitted to the
United States, which we presume has shown it to Israel."
[On Thursday, Israel's military launched what was termed a limited
campaign in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported. The operations included raids of
the West Bank cities of Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm and an Israeli helicopter
missile attack on what was described as a senior Hamas official, Ismail Abu
Shanab, in Gaza City. At least four Palestinian were killed and several
others were injured in the operations. It was not clear whether Abu Shanab
was one of the casualties.]
On Thursday, Dahlan's spokesman Elias Zananiri said Arafat has approved
the security crackdown. But other PA officials said Arafat's decision was in
principle only and that the PA chairman insisted on approving every
operation carried out by PA forces.
The draft is the first that envisions a widespread crackdown on Islamic
insurgency groups in a move that reflects appeals by Secretary of State
Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. The sources
said that over the last five months of Abbas's rule PA security forces were
limited to occasional raids and interrogations of insurgency strongholds and
"Powell asked Abbas to take deterrent measures against those responsible
for the central Jerusalem bus attack," PA Information Minister Nabil Amr
The proposed PA crackdown would not include the West Bank, the sources
said. They said Dahlan does not command the loyalty of a significant number
of police or security forces in the West Bank.
Moreover, the PA plan does not call for the confiscation of weapons from
Hamas and Jihad, the sources said. Instead, the plan discusses supervision
of weapons by insurgency groups.
The sources said the proposed crackdown would rely on PA police and
the Preventive Security Apparatus, both of which are directly under Dahlan's
command. The 10 security agencies under Arafat's command would not be
directly involved in the operation.
Earlier, Abbas convened his Cabinet to discuss a response to
the Jerusalem bus bombing in which 19 Israelis were killed. A
Cabinet statement said the ministers approved Dahlan's plan for a "continued
operation against Hamas and Jihad," but linked this to Israeli military
"The Palestinian security services will take all necessary measures in
order to preserve the Palestinian national interests," PA minister Yasser
Abbed Rabbo said.