'Gang rule' in Palestine: Jericho only city with functioning police

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Palestinian Authority police are not on the beat in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

A United Nations briefing on the estimated 45,000 PA police and security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip informed the Security Council that PA police operate in only one city.

UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said the PA police are on the job in Jericho in the West Bank. Jericho has been the scene of training of PA police by Britain and Jordan, according to reports by Middle East Newsline.

"Jericho is actually becoming the only Palestinian city with a functioning police," Roed-Larsen said.

The failure of the police has led to chaos throughout the PA areas, the council was told. Roed-Larsen warned of a collapse of the PA and said the worst-hit areas was Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and Nablus in the northern West Bank.

"Clashes and showdowns between branches of Palestinian security forces are now common in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian Authority legal authority is receding fast in the face of the mounting power of arms, money and intimidation," Roed-Larsen said.

"Lawlessness and gang rule are becoming common in [the northern West Bank city of] Nablus."

The UN envoy said the PA "has made no progress on its core obligation to take immediate action on the ground to end violence and combat terror."

Roed-Larsen also criticized what he called Israel's failure to remove unauthorized Israeli outposts in the West Bank.

"Despite a well-intended prime minister, the paralysis of the Palestinian Authority has become abundantly clear and the deterioration of law and order in Palestinian areas is steadily worsening," Roed-Larsen said. "The PA is in deep distress and is in real danger of collapse."

In an unrelated issue, Israeli AH-64A Apache attack helicopters fired missiles toward a suspected Kassam missile facility in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli military statement did not report damage assessment from the missile strike on late Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the UN reported that a food convoy came under fire in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Israeli military sources said the UN convoy entered Beit Hanoun as Palestinian insurgents opened fire on military forces. >

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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