GAZA CITY Ñ Hamas leaders said the 40,000 security officers in the Palestinian Authority should join ranks and form an army.
The leaders said all security agencies should be rolled into one army. They said the army should be a priority for
the Palestinian leadership in wake of the death of PA Chairman Yasser
"In order to achieve a social amicability, all security apparatuses
should be rebuilt in a frame of an army and become national security
apparatuses," Hamas spokesman Ismail Haniya told a conference on Saturday.
It was the first time Hamas has called for a Palestinian army as part of
the war against Israel. The call was issued during a seminar in Gaza City to
discuss the post-Arafat period, Middle East Newsline reported.
The PA has more than 40,000 officers in about 12 security services. The
new Palestinian leadership has pledged to consolidate those services.
The seminar pitted those who sought to intensify the war against Israel
against advocates of a ceasefire. Ibrahim Abrash, a lecturer at the Azhar
University in Gaza City, termed the four-year-old war against Israel a
"We should know where we are going in the future," Abrash said. "Is
militarizing the Palestinian uprising good or bad, and what are the benefits
the armed attacks have achieved?"
But Haniya said the war against Israel led to its decision to
unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. He
rejected any effort to undermine what he termed "Palestinian armed
On Saturday, Palestinian gunners fired two Kassam-class short-range
missiles toward Israel. The missiles landed in Israel's western Negev and
damaged a home. Nobody was injured.