Friday, July 16, 2004

Arafat's Panel Declares State of Emergency

Is the Palestinian Authority in a more dire position than I thought?
A security panel headed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) declared a state of emergency in the Gaza Strip (news - web sites) early Saturday after a wave of kidnappings involving a Palestinian police chief, a security official and four French citizens.

Although most of the hostages were later freed, the crisis raised questions about the future of Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia's government, which will meet Saturday in a session that could determine its future, a Palestinian official said on condition of anonymity.

The declaration by the Palestinian security council called for increased protection around government facilities and canceled all leave for security officials.

The deteriorating situation reflected the growing disagreements among militant groups and individuals trying to strengthen their positions before Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites) fulfills his pledge to withdraw Israeli forces and some 7,500 settlers from Gaza late next year.
You can dance with the Devil but, sometimes, he wants to lead.


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