RAMALLAH Ñ The Palestinian Authority has been presented with a
Cabinet regarded as loyal to chairman Yasser Arafat.
Meanwhile, Palestinian non-government organizations have refused to
sign a U.S.-sponsored commitment that they will not transfer funds to
individuals or groups that engage in attacks against Israeli civilians.
Palestinian sources said social welfare groups within the Palestinian
Authority as well as independent NGOs have organized a campaign against
so-called anti-terror clause. The sources said the United States has
demanded that Palestinian social welfare groups sign a commitment that they
will not transfer money to those deemed terrorists.
PA Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Qurei won approval for his Cabinet
that included longtime allies of Arafat, Middle East Newsline reported. The Cabinet largely excluded
supporters of former premier Mahmoud Abbas.
Mohammed Dahlan, outgoing security minister, was not named in Qurei's
Cabinet. Over the weekend, about 1,000 Dahlan supporters, many of them
carrying weapons, protested the decision in the Gaza Strip city of Khan
Yunis. Dahlan supporters also torched posters of Fatah Central Committee
members who approved the Cabinet appointments.
So far, the sources said, about 30 NGOs have declared that they would
not sign the anti-terror commitment. Many of the groups obtain funding from
the U.S. Agency for International Development and American philanthropies.
Maj. Gen. Nasser Yusef, a senior police official, was appointed interior
minister in the proposed new government. Yusef has been a longtime critic of
Arafat but was opposed by Dahlan when he served as security chief under
In all, 15 Fatah members, including such stalwarts as Saeb Erekat,
Yasser Abbed Rabbo, Nabil Shaath and Intissar Al Wazir, were included in the
24-member Cabinet. The Cabinet, which includes Salam Fayyad as finance
minister, was expected to be relayed for approval to the Palestinian
Legislative Council on Thursday.
On late Friday, two Israelis in a community south of Hebron were killed
in an attack by a Palestinian insurgent released by Israel. Mahmoud Hamdan,
a 22-year-old resident from the southern West Bank town of Dura, infiltrated
the Israeli community of Negohot and shot dead two residents with an
Israeli-issued M-16 semi-automatic assault rifle.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. Israeli military
sources said Hamdan was released from an Israeli prison in August after
serving a sentence for attempting a suicide operation.
Earlier this month, representatives of 29 NGOs in the area of the West
Bank city of Bethlehem met and issued a statement that they would not
cooperate with a U.S. AID demand not to transfer funding to any individual
or group deemed terrorist. The meeting was attended by PA security and
intelligence officials. The Interior Ministry regulates NGOs in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip.
AID has warned that the agency will halt funding to any NGO that does
not sign the pledge.