Jerusalem Post – Terrorist groups have denounced new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas’s pledge to “support political pluralism but oppose security pluralism” by restricting the possession of weapons to PA forces
Yet Abbas managed to decisively win the endorsement of the Palestinian Legislative Council for his cabinet and program, with 51 votes in favor 18 against and 3 abstentions.
“It was a heated debate. I would call it a landmark in Palestinian history,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat told The Jerusalem Post.
“Many legislators were critical of Abbas’s pledge to implement security and disarm militants. They were arguing why should we give something to Israel on the security issue for nothing in return,” one PLC source explained.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad were quick to say that they would not hand over their weapons. “Of course we will not [disarm]… We are resisting an occupation that still exists. The day we get rid of the occupation we can talk about arms,” said Abdel Aziz Rantissi, a top Hamas official in Gaza.
Muhammad al-Hindi, a senior Islamic Jihad leader, also stressed that the “Islamic Jihad is a resistance movement [that] will not drop its weapons before the occupation ends.” Fatah militants have also said they would oppose any attempt to disarm them.
Abbas told the PLC that there was no military solution to the conflict with Israel. He said the government was committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and without Jewish settlements. But to achieve that aim the Palestinians must first put “things in order internally.” He also promised to fight corruption and back the financial reforms proposed by Finance Minister Salaam Fayad.
Abbas stopped short of calling for a unilateral cease-fire in his speech, but said “ending the armed chaos, which carries a direct threat to the security of the citizens, will be one of [his government’s] fundamental missions.”
“There is no place for weapons except in the hands of the government,” he said.
Abbas stressed that his government would not be lenient with anyone who attempts to break the law and stressed that there would be only one authority.
He urged the opposition groups to participate in elections and express their opposition through political organizations and in the media, but not through violence. “We support political pluralism but oppose security pluralism,” he said.
“It was a very clear message the clearest message so far,” said Fatah legislator Nabil Amr, who will be the new Information Minister.
“The key to the success of the new government is the immediate implementation of the road map for peace… The Quartet should announce it tonight,” Erekat said after Tuesday’s vote.