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Palestinian Inquiry Blames Arafat for Anarchy - 2004-08-10

A Palestinian Legislative Council investigation says the Palestinian Authority, and its president Yasser Arafat, are to blame for failure of the Palestinian security forces to restore law and order in the Gaza Strip. The committee also calls for the resignation of the Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia's government and that new general elections be held.

The panel's report follows a month-long inquiry in which dozens of people were interviewed, ranging from Prime Minister Qureia to leading commanders of security forces, and activists from the mainstream Fatah faction from all over Gaza. Their blunt testimony charged that the Palestinian leadership failed to build state institutions and as a result used clan loyalties instead of law to deal with out-of-control armed factions.

The five-member committee was made up of both Arafat loyalists and those advocating reform with the Palestinian Authority.

The report lays the blame for the failure of the security forces to restore law and order to what it calls "the total lack of a clear political decision" and to no definition of roles for security forces "either for the long term or the short."

The report calls on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Qureia to define in law the role of the security forces, and to issue presidential orders to operate them until those laws are passed.

The report also lashes out at the National Security Council that Mr. Arafat heads, for failing to set security strategy. It calls on the Palestinian leader "to use his authority to issue immediate orders to end all the dangerous activity taking place in the Gaza Strip by some of the commanders and men of the armed security forces intimidating the citizenry, creating chaos and harming the supreme interests of the Palestinian people."

The report also calls for an end to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel or the firing of weapons from Palestinian houses. It says such actions do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people.