RAMALLAH Ñ In the absence of the dying PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, senior officials
have tried to reorganize the 12 security agencies. But these efforts have
been jeopardized by infighting between PA security chiefs. Officials said
many of the security chiefs have refused to work with former PA Security
Minister Mohammed Dahlan, expected to return to a senior position in the
The efforts have also been threatened by a dispute between PA leaders
and Arafat's wife, Suha. On Monday, Suha, in an interview with the
Qatar-based A-Jazeera satellite television, accused PA Prime Minister Ahmed
Qurei, PLO Executive Council secretary Mahmoud Abbas and others of seeking
to "bury" her husband.
Suha's accusation was meant to stop a visit to Paris by Abbas, Qurei and
PA International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath meant for later that day, Middle East Newsline reported.
The PA leaders have sought clarifications on Arafat's condition.
Earlier, Qurei met his security chiefs as well as insurgency leaders in
Gaza City. Qurei said the insurgency groups agreed to ensure order in the
Palestinian terrorities in wake of Arafat's absence. Arafat has been in
Paris since Oct. 29 and on Nov. 4 French intelligence sources said the PA
chairman was declared brain-dead by his physicians.
"It was a very important meeting," Qurei said later. "It may be the
first of its kind where the government, the legislative council and heads of
security forces have met with leaders of national and Islamic movements."
The Palestinian Authority plans to operate a joint
Officials said the Cabinet decided to form a security force that would
include elements of most of the 12 PA security agencies. They said the force
would be employed to maintain order and protect the regime from insurgents.
"There will not be chaos," PA national security adviser Brig. Gen.
Jibril Rajoub said.
Officials said the new joint force would be based in the Gaza Strip and
ready for full-scale operations over the next few weeks. They said the force
would be commanded by Maj. Gen. Abdul Razik Al Majaydeh, the longtime head
of the paramilitary Palestinian National Forces.
The new PA force would conduct patrols with other security agencies in
the Gaza Strip. Officials said experimental joint patrols began on Sunday.
The National Security Council decided to launch the joint force as part
of an effort to restore order in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Officials
said the plan also called for a ban on unlicensed weapons.
Officials said exceptions would be made for certain Palestinian
insurgency groups. They said insurgents who battle Israeli troops would be
allowed to carry weapons.