The PA employs more terrorists

Brad Nielson

The Funding for Peace Coalition has consistently reported the use of EU funded Palestinian Authority (PA) budgets to pay terrorist salaries. In addition to paying "salaries" and social benefits to terrorists held in Israeli prisons, many thousands of Al-Aksa terrorists were enrolled on the books of the Palestinian security services, to the point that the International Monetary Fund identified nearly 10,000 "non-performing" PA security personnel. The World Bank identified these salary excesses as the key factor in the financial crises, which it says the PA created for itself; ignoring the guidelines and pleas of donor countries to control the salary budget.

Given that Hamas was swept to power on an election platform of "clean government", promising to rid the PA of the nepotism and corruption that they inherited, it is instructive to see how they are dealing with this issue.

The new Palestinian Minister of the Interior and National Security, Saeed Seyam, announced the formation of a new and additional 3,000 man armed "operational force" to be headed by Jamal Abu Samhadana. This new police unit will include members of the internationally outlawed Hamas' Iz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as well as the Hamas-loyal Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). In fact, Smahadana heads the PRC, and is said to have been responsible for the 2003 bombing of a US diplomatic convoy in Gaza, which killed three Americans.

It would seem that, rather than seeking ways to reduce the financial burden, Hamas is emulating and extending the ways of the corrupt regime it replaced. It is no wonder that the new regime claims to be unable to meet the payroll, and is traveling hat in hand around the world, looking for donors.

The following article is one of the many reports about the formation of this new force.

Armed group prepares to join 'outlawed' Palestinian force

Gulf Times, Qatar, Friday, 28 April, 2006

GAZA CITY: Around 500 gunmen from the Popular Resistance Committees will join a new security force that has been vetoed by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, the hardline faction announced yesterday.

"Five hundred members of the Popular Resistance Committees will take part in this security force of 3,000 men, which will start work in a week," spokesman Abu Abir told a news conference in Gaza City.

"This force will integrate with police and will help them, as well as the security services, to protect individuals and government institutions," he said.

Abbas, who as Palestinian Authority president has overall responsibility for security, has vetoed the creation of the volunteer force of hundreds of gunmen from militant factions as announced by Hamas interior minister Said Siam.

Flanking Abu Abir at the news conference were dozens of gunmen from the Popular Resistance Committees brandishing guns, grenades and anti-tank rockets.

"Several groups are completely ready to join this force in all areas," the spokesman told reporters.

"Our task is clear and that is to oppose anyone who tries to attack our people's freedom, security, the (fight) against corruption and the corrupt, and to end the security chaos," Abu Abir said.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Abbas's Fatah party, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said they would not join the new force.

Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Abu Hilal said that the new force's first outing had occurred last Sunday during clashes between Fatah and Hamas gunmen at the health ministry in Gaza City where four people were wounded.

He said the police "back-up unit" did not defy decrees from Abbas. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) banned the formation of a new force, he did not ban the formation of a unit to strengthen and help Palestinian police in their task," he said.

Abu Hilal added that the force would be made up of between 2,000 and 3,000 members from six armed groups, including one splinter cell linked to Al Aqsa and the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

On April 20, the Hamas government declared it was setting up the force and appointing Popular Resistance Committees leader Jamal Abu Samhadana, wanted in Israel in connection with dozens of attacks, to a top security position.

But Abbas issued a decree the following day outlawing the new force and Abu Samhadana's appointment as illegal and anti-constitutional.

The Hamas-led government hit back, charging that its decisions conformed with the Palestinian basic law. The power struggle degenerated into clashes between Fatah and Hamas gunmen that left more than 30 people wounded last week.

Hamas's exiled supreme political leader, Khaled Meshaal, had fanned the flames of the showdown by effectively accusing Abbas of waging a "plot" and leading a "counter-government" undercutting his group's prerogatives. - AFP

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