RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei said Monday that Gaza was in “chaos,” as two officials claimed to be chief of general security in Gaza and the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, facing an unprecedented challenge to his power, said nothing.
Qorei, who has tried to resign twice over the security crisis, met with his Cabinet on Monday to discuss the upheaval in Gaza.
At a news conference in Ramallah, Qorei said his written resignation still stands.
Qorei said he has not received a written response from Arafat since filing his resignation letter.
He first announced his resignation Saturday after demanding greater power to revive Mideast peace efforts and to end turmoil and poverty gripping Gaza.
Arafat refused Qorei’s request for additional powers and verbally rejected his resignation.
Palestinians are struggling for power to be assumed after Israel’s planned military withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank by the end of next year.
Qorei said Monday that his Cabinet had formed a committee to meet with Arafat to convey their growing concerns over the Gaza violence.
On Saturday, Arafat replaced Abdel Razik al-Majeida as head of national security with Mussa Arafat — the Palestinian leader’s nephew — who headed military intelligence. However, al-Majeida maintains he still holds the position.
After the announcement, about 2,000 demonstrators filled the streets of southern Gaza. The protesters complained that Yasser Arafat was replacing “corruption with more corruption.” Leaders of Arafat’s Fatah movement resigned in protest.
Militant’s house explodes
On Monday, the house of a Palestinian militant leader exploded in a Gaza refugee camp, wounding three people. Sources in the Palestinian Popular Resistance said the house of Abdel Karim El Kuka, a leader in the Popular Resistance, an umbrella organization representing a number of Palestinian militant groups, exploded in the Shati refugee camp. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.
Witnesses said there was an Israeli drone aircraft in the sky just before the blast. Israel Defense Forces had no immediate comment. Palestinian security sources said the wounded had been handling an explosive device.
El Kuka had left the house shortly before the explosion and was not injured, the Popular Resistance sources said. One of the wounded was seriously hurt and two others suffered lighter injuries, the sources said.
Palestinian offices burned
Sunday violence in Gaza included the burning of Palestinian intelligence offices in Khan Yunis by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — a military offshoot of Fatah that Israel and the U.S. State Department considers to be a terrorist organization.
The group also released people that the security services had been holding and stole weapons stored at the intelligence offices. Cars around the building were set afire.
Palestinian demonstrators exchanged gunfire Sunday with security service guards outside the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence headquarters in Rafah in southern Gaza. Palestinian hospital sources said 10 people were wounded in the fighting that continued late into the night.
Protesters complained corruption has characterized Arafat’s leadership at the helm of the Palestinian Authority.
Speaking in Gaza, al-Majeida told reporters he has been reinstated as head of national security after his dismissal Saturday. Meanwhile, Mussa Arafat denied he had been fired and maintained he was still in control, Palestinians sources said. Yasser Arafat’s office declined to comment.
After his Cabinet meeting, Qorei said, “Who is corrupt and who isn’t corrupt? These are the questions that are being raised, but this is not how corruption is solved.”
He called on all Palestinians to “put an end to chaos and violence” as a way to “achieve our national goals.”
“How joyful the Israelis are these days,” Qorei said. “The only winners are our enemies.”
Yasser Arafat announced the security shuffle Saturday, a day after militants kidnapped Police Chief Ghazi al-Jabali, demanding he be fired and investigated for suspected corruption. Arafat obliged and replaced him with Saeb el-Ajez, a police commander in northern Gaza.
In addition to firing al-Majeida and naming his nephew as security chief, Arafat also announced he would consolidate the 12 security organizations in Gaza into three units — national security, armed forces and police.