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Jerusalem Times: This Week in Palestine…behind the News with

Subject:        Jerusalem Times: This Week in Palestine…behind the News with
Hanna Siniora (March 19, 2006)
Date:   Sun, 19 Mar 2006 13:42:53 +0200
From:   Gershon Baskin <Gershon@ipcri.org>


Jerusalem Times <http://www.jerusalem-times.net/main.asp?edition=586>

* *

*[[**Jerusalem** Times: **Opinion**]] *

* *

*March 19, 2006*



*This Week in **Palestine**…behind the News with **Hanna Siniora*

* *

*The **Jericho** Humiliation *

* *

President Mahmoud Abbas received another slap in the face from Israel,
the USA and the United Kingdom when they failed to coordinate with him
the urgency of the situation in the Jericho prison. Formally on March 8,
a letter signed by Jake Walles, the US Consul General and John Jenkins
the UK Consul General, was sent to Mahmoud Abbas and possibly a copy to
the Israeli government. The letter did not reflect the urgency of the
situation, specially the issue of the safety of the monitors-jailers.
Jericho was safe and secure, and Palestinian officials treated the
letter in a routine fashion, and expected to negotiate the issues. The
abrupt departure of the monitors, and immediate siege of the prison by
Israeli forces indicated collusion.



The humiliation of the police force stripped naked as they surrendered
backlashed in the face of the President who was out of the country in
Europe fund raising for the cash starved PA, unable to pay yet the
February salaries of its employees.



Hamas emerged more credible, Abbas was stressing, on the new leadership
to recognize all previous agreements between the PLO and the government
of Israel, now it was shown that Israel does not respect those same
agreements and acted unilaterally as it sees fit.



The Olmert government shored up its slippage in the polls and went up
from 36 seats to 43.  At the Security Council even a mild censuring of
the flagrant unilateral act was blocked by the USA & UK.



Abbas and the PA were humiliated, Hamas was vindicated that agreements
with Israel are no more than words on paper, and that the PA should
respect while Israel can disregard those agreements whenever it suits
its policies and that for election purposes it was used to shore up the
sagging fortunes of Kadima.



*Dismantling the PA *

* *

Fateh leaders, Palestinian activists and academics, as a result called
for the dismantlement of the PA structure by the PLO headed by Mahmoud
Abbas. The policy of the unilateralism pursued by Sharon and now by
Olmert made the PA irrelevant and humiliated. The Fateh Central
Committee discussed the pros and cons of such action and arrived to no
decision. Those who proposed such move felt that Israel and the
International Community should take over the administration of the
occupied territories and the humanitarian needs of the people. The PA
has suffered fatal blows under Fateh and will face a worse scenario
under Hamas, while Israel violation of agreements goes unnoticed and
without rebukes or sanctions. The time has come to disband the PA in the
eyes of many, but the Presidency and Hamas rejected this route.



*The Hamas Government *

* *

PM designate Ismail Haniyyeh will announce his cabinet this Sunday and
most probably it will be an all Hamas cabinet with Mahmoud Zahhar as
Foreign Minister and Said Siam as Interior Minister. Fateh and most of
the smaller parties have failed to reach a political accord with Hamas.
The announcement of the cabinet was delayed for 24 hours to give the
three-seat PFLP party in the PLC to give its final answer on joining or
not the Hamas cabinet.



On domestic issues, the Hamas agenda of reform and improved services was
acceptable to all the parties. The stumbling issues were that Hamas
should recognize the PLO as the supreme body and the reference to all PA
cabinets, recognize the 1988 Declaration of Independence made by the PNC
in Algeria and accept all agreements and commitments made by the PLO
with the State of Israel. Hamas refused to adhere to such a political
platform, this led Fateh and smaller parties not to join what seems to
be a one party (Hamas) government, despite that technocrats from outside
the PLC would man the majority of cabinet posts.



*PFLP Position*



Despite the forced arrest of its leader Ahmed Saadat in Jericho, the
PFLP seems to be inclined to join the Hamas government. In addition to
the other conditions, the PLO and the Declaration of 1988 as a reference
point; the PFLP is dead set against a State with provisional borders and
want Hamas to accept the call for an international conference that will
lead to a two state solution with permanent borders. The PFLP is much
closer on political issues with Hamas than Fateh. In the municipal
elections, the PFLP allied its representatives with Hamas in order to
take control of major West Bank municipalities like Ramallah and
Bethlehem. The next 24 hours will demonstrate if Hamas is willing to
accommodate the PFLP or go it alone.



* *

* *

*Some Members of the Hamas Cabinet- *24 members (10 Gaza + 14 West Bank)* *



  1. Ismail Haniyyeh (PLC) Prime Minister
  2. Dr. Nasser Al-Shaer, Deputy PM
  3. Dr. Mahmoud Zahhar (PLC), Foreign Minister (or Dr. Ziad Abu Amr)
  4. Said Siam (PLC), Interior and Civil Affairs Minister
  5. Dr. Omar Abdul Razeq (PLC), Finance Minister
  6. Nayef Rajjoub (PLC), Awqaf Minister
  7. Dr. Jamal Khoudari (PLC), Telecommunication Minister
  8. Samir Abu Aysheh, Planning Minister
  9. Mazin Sonokrot, National Economy
 10. Dr. Yousef Rizka, Information Minister
 11. Dr. Miriam Saleh, Women Affairs Minister
 12. Dr. Atah Abu Sabeh, Culture Minister
 13. Dr. Mohamed Shbeir, Higher Education Minister
 14. Khalida Jirar (PLC), Prisoners Affairs Ministers (PFLP)
 15. Tareq Abu Arafeh, Jerusalem Affairs Minister
 16. Tannous Abu Ayta, Tourism Minister (Christian)
 17. Dr. Abdul Halim Hanbali, Agriculture Minister
 18. Dr. Ahmad Khalidi, Justice Minister
 19. Fakhri Turkoman, Social Welfare Minister



If PFLP Joins Cabinet it will receive Two Additional Posts, Hamas
Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri says this line-up is not final.



* *











*Hanna Siniora**
Co-CEO, IPCRI
**ISRAEL/PALESTINE CENTER FOR RESEARCH & INFORMATION*

P.O. Box 9321, Jerusalem 91092
Tel: 972-2-676-9460   Fax: 972-2-676-8011
Mobile: 052-2864820
hanna@ipcri.org <mailto:gershon@ipcri.org>

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