By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, May 5, 2005.
The Palestinian Authority has no intention of disarming the Palestinian
“resistance” groups, but at the same time is determined to enforce law and
order in its areas, Rashid Abu Shabak, commander of the PA Preventative
Security Service in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, announced Wednesday.
“The Palestinian Authority won’t touch the weapons of the resistance
groups, but will take immediate and decisive measures against those who pose
as members of the resistance to spread chaos on the streets,” he told reporters
in Gaza City.
Abu Shabak also warned the armed groups against violating the unofficial truce
with Israel. He was referring to threats by Fatah gunmen in the West Bank to
resume terrorist attacks against Israel unless the PA leadership solved the
problem of all the fugitives who are on Israel’s list of wanted terrorists.
Abu Shabak’s statements were also seen as a direct warning to Hamas and
Islamic Jihad, whose members were responsible for rocket attacks on
settlements in the Gaza Strip over the past few days.
Earlier this week the PA security forces were forced to release a Hamas man
who was arrested while trying to fire a mortar from the northern Gaza Strip.
The man was released hours after he was arrested by Abu Shabak’s forces
following pressure from the Egyptian Embassy in Gaza City.
Following the arrest, Hamas ordered all its men in the Gaza Strip to be on high
alert and threatened to attack PA police stations and ministries unless the
detainee was released immediately. The threat was issued by scores of Hamas
activists through megaphones in mosques.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas also reiterated his commitment to end
lawlessness, saying the PA security forces won’t allow Palestinians to carry
weapons in public.
“Our aspiration is to create a democratic society where people can live in
peace and security,” he told Palestinian businessmen and academics during a
meeting in his office Tuesday night.
In response to Israeli allegations that he was not fighting terrorism, Abbas said
his administration was determined to avoid internecine fighting.
“The Israelis want to see Palestinian blood being spilled, and this is
completely unacceptable; we have red lines,” he said.