OpinionMeister

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Abbas Fires Gaza Security Heads

The AP reports that
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas fired top Gaza security commanders Thursday, Palestinian officials said, hours after militants fired dozens of mortar shells and homemade rockets at Jewish settlements there, breaking a 2-day-old cease-fire.

An official said on condition of anonymity that Abbas dismissed chief of public security Brig. Gen. Abdel Razek Majaidie, police chief Saeb al-Ajed, three other senior commanders and several lower-ranking officers.

Palestinian Cabinet Secretary Hassan Abu Libdeh said Abbas took "punitive measures against officers who did not undertake their responsibilities, which led to the latest developments in Gaza," dismissing several commanders and accepting the resignations of others.

The firings came hours after Abbas ordered security forces to stop militants from firing mortars and rockets at Jewish settlements in Gaza. Despite a cease-fire declared Tuesday, Hamas militants fired more than 30 mortars and rockets at settlements Thursday, causing no casualties or damage.

This could prove to be a very positive development. It really doesn't matter whether Abbas did it to enforce his order, or to get rid of some Arafat appointees and replace them with his own. At the very least, it shows him doing something, so the Israelis do not have to respond to the attack. If Abbas is serious about wanting something resembling peace with his neighbors, he has to establish his control over security forces which had been organized by Arafat to aid the terrorists. He must either change the personnel or change the thinking of its members.

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