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Armed Attacks Have Hurt Cause of Independence, says Outgoing Palestinian Official


Outgoing Palestinian Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan says armed attacks against Israelis have set back the goal of achieving Palestinian independence. The remarks were made on the third anniversary of the Palestinian uprising, the intifada, against Israel.

Mr. Dahlan strongly criticized what he called the militarization of the Palestinian intifada that began on September 28, 2000.

He said that resorting to armed violence in the past three years had proved harmful to the Palestinian national struggle.

Mr. Dahlan said the various Palestinian militant groups had failed to understand that the world had changed following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States.

In an interview with the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon, he said armed attacks allowed Israel to brand the current Palestinian rebellion as a form of terrorism. As a result, Mr. Dahlan said, Palestinians failed to gain strong international support for the uprising.

Mr. Dahlan spoke a day after Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction left him out of the list of candidates being drawn up for the next Palestinian cabinet.

The new cabinet will be led by Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Qureia. Mr. Qureia will replace Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned earlier this month after losing a power struggle with Mr. Arafat over control of the security forces.

Mr. Dahlan accused the leadership of Mr. Arafat's Fatah Party of discrediting Mr. Abbas and bringing down his government.

Mr. Dahlan has been replaced by an Arafat loyalist, Nasser Yousef, who will serve as interior minister, a job that gives him partial control over the security forces.

Most of the security forces will be commanded directly by Mr. Arafat himself.

In another development, Saeb Erekat has reportedly turned down an offer to continue as minister in charge of negotiations with Israel.