Friday, July 16, 2004

State of Emergency Declared in Gaza

Everything is falling to shit. There were several adbuctions today, of French nationals and a PA police chief. Two top PA security officials resigned over the growing chaos: Rashid Abu Shbak, preventive security chief in Gaza, and Amin Hindi, head of Palestinian general intelligence.
 
A group of French NGO workers were abducted and later released as was a PA police chief. Security is collapsing as is the government. "Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie called an emergency cabinet meeting for Saturday, fuelling speculation his government may resign or be forced out over the latest crisis."
 
Here's the Yahoo/AP photo of masked terrorists on the steps of the Red Cresent Society HQ (thanks to Watch at Windsofchange). When confronted by PA police they fired from the building.
 
Meanwhile, Israel is preparing contingency plans for Arafat's eventual death. He's 75ish and suffers from Parkinson.
 
The contingency plan forecasts chaos in the Palestinian territories. It says Arafat's Palestinian Authority will collapse and Islamic groups, led by Hamas, could rise up out of the refugee camps where they have strong support and try to take control of the Palestinian government.
 
Are the Islamist groups challenging Arafat while he's still alive? Is he too weak to mount a response? Can the PA respond forcefully to the growing threat? What will Israel do?

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