Abbas launches law-and-order drive
- Abbas launches law-and-order drive
Sunday 01 May 2005, 2:43 Makka Time, 23:43 GMT
The Palestinian Authority has announced a new law-and-order campaign, pledging
to put more police on the streets to boost public safety and confidence in
President Mahmud Abbas' leadership.
The drive, due to begin on Sunday, follows growing lawlessness - including 30
murders over the past year - in the Palestinian territories.
A statement from the Interior Ministry, which oversees the security services,
voiced a "clear determination to ... impose the rule of law on the ground
through a multi-faceted campaign".
Tawfiq Abu Khusa, a spokesman for Interior Minister Nasir Yusuf, said more
police would patrol the streets in the Gaza Strip and in
Palestinian-controlled cities in the West Bank to give the public a better
feeling of security.
However, Palestinian officials said that Abbas did not plan to use the
campaign to move against resistance groups who are observing a de facto truce
with Israel until the end of the year.
Abbas has pledged to use an "iron fist" against armed groups who violate the
truce. On Friday, Palestinian forces arrested two fighters over rocket attacks
on Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Briefing Palestinian security chiefs on the law-and-order drive on Saturday,
Yusuf instructed them to put their own houses in order, Abu Khusa said.
Some security men have been involved in killings and others have used their
position and weapons to settle personal accounts or seize public land for
their own use.
Human rights groups have said members of Islamic group Hamas took part in the
murder of a woman who they suspected of immoral behaviour on a Gaza beach on 8
The woman had been seen with her betrothed two days before their wedding
ceremony was due to be held.
Hamas has not responded as yet to the allegations.
Last weekend, Abbas named new heads for national security, intelligence and
police as part of reforms intended to strengthen the leader's own position
after his election in January and before any attempt to revive peacemaking
Israel has said the Palestinians must dismantle armed groups if there is to be
any progress on talks and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has accused Abbas of
failing to mount a "real fight against terrorism".
Abbas says he prefers dialogue to confrontation with the factions.