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Friday, February 20, 2004

Again we hear Palestinian Authority near collapse

"Frankly, there is chaos among the [Palestinian] security forces," said Mustafa Issa, governor of Ramallah and a longtime Arafat loyalist, "and there is much corruption."

Reflecting deepening disillusionment at all levels of society, Issa said he would like to see European countries sympathetic to the Palestinian people "control this area for the next five years -- eight years if they are good." Palestinians tried to administer their own affairs from the mid-1990s to the present, he said, "and we did not succeed."

A senior Israeli specialist in Palestinian affairs, who spoke on condition that his name not be published, said "the feeling that things are falling apart in the Palestinian Authority is not completely new, but in recent weeks there are increasing manifestations of it really happening"...

Issa and other Arafat loyalists have long blamed the Palestinian Authority's administrative problems on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but with the situation now rapidly worsening, growing numbers of Palestinians and sympathizers are publicly pointing the finger of blame at Fatah, and at Arafat himself.

"It is a disaster," said Bassem Eid, director of the East Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. "The problem is not just the occupation, it is much bigger. Nablus is ruled by thugs. The people are killing each other."

At least 27 people have been killed by fellow Palestinians in Nablus in the last year, police there say.

The resignation statement of 350 men describing themselves as "junior cadres from throughout Palestine" charged that "tribalism, factionalism [and] money . . . have dominated" Fatah politics and that the movement "suffers from political bankruptcy"...

Read it all in the Boston Globe.
And these on the possibility of HAMAS filling the vacuum: one in the Washington Times, and another, more scholarly, from JCPA, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.