RAMALLAH ø About a third of the Palestinian Legislative Council has
signed a petition that warned of the prospect of anarchy in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip.
The legislators have called for a reform policy meant to crack down on
crime and halt attacks by Fatah-aligned insurgents on the Palestinian
Authority and PLC facilities. They have also called for the dismissal of
Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, blamed for having failed to stop the
The legislators complained that gunmen of Palestinian insurgency groups
have been hired by those seeking to intimidate their political rivals. They
said PA security forces have failed to protect either Palestinians or PA
facilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"The Cabinet and the interior minister are responsible for the
deterioration of security," Hamas-aligned legislator Imad Falouji said
during a session on Oct. 21. "They are not doing anything to pursue the
perpetrators and those who are financing and arming them. Some of them are
carrying out attacks in broad daylight and without masks because they are
confident they will not be held accountable."
[On Monday, Israeli combat helicopters struck five times Palestinian
insurgency strongholds in the central Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis in an
attempt to stop Hamas mortar attacks on a neighboring Jewish community.
Palestinian sources said 14 Palestinians were killed and 40 were injured.]
So far, 24 legislators signed the petition for the dismissal of Qurei
and his Cabinet. A session to discuss and vote on a no-confidence motion
could be held in November after Qurei was expected to review the performance
of his government.
Last week's session, recessed twice to prevent violence, was marred by
legislators threatening their colleagues. At one point, PLC member Azmi
Shuaibi warned that he would order an assault on PLC Financial Committee
chairman Saadi Al Krunz.
Over the last week, eight people were injured in a night-long clash
between two PA security agencies in the Gaza Strip. In the northern West
Bank city of Jenin, Fatah insurgents raided offices of the PA and PLC.
In July 2004, PLC member Nabil Amr, a critic of PA Chairman Yasser
Arafat, was shot and seriously injured in Ramallah. Amr, taken to Germany
where his leg was amputated, has sent a letter to the PLC that accused it of
ignoring the attack.
"We are living in a situation where the security forces need
protection," PLC member Burhan Jarrar said. "What is most serious is that
the security forces are loyal to certain people and are involved in many