Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday outlawed all armed Palestinian groups except for the official PA security services. . .
"On the basis of the declaration of a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories, and by virtue of my authority, all armed militias, groups and brigades that do not belong in practice to the security services shall be treated as illegal organizations," read the first order. . . .
However, it remains unclear how Abbas will enforce this order.
Members of the Fatah Party's military wing [Wednesday] denied claims by the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, that he had asked the group to turn in their weapons. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades said Mr. Abbas's officials instead have encouraged the organization to continue its "resistance" activities.
Mr. Abbas pledged during a summit with Prime Minister Olmert on Monday that he would immediately dismantle all
West Bank militias not connected to the security forces of his Fatah Party. . . .
"No one from Abbas's office ever asked us to disarm," the deputy commander of the Brigades in the northern West Bank, Nasser Abu Aziz, told The
New York Sun. "We will never disarm until all issues are settled, including a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees."
A leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, Abu Yousuf, told the Sun that Mr. Abbas's claims that the Brigades will disarm "are more of a message meant for the Israelis, the Americans, and the international community."
Youssef Ibrahim, in a must-read article in today’s New York Sun, provides a clue about why Abbas’s “order” has not yet reached his party’s “military wing:”
The Palestinian Arab territories are run by two warring mini-authorities. One of them -- spread over the
West Bank -- is headed by President Abbas of Fatah, a man whose powers barely extend to the porch of his residence in Ramallah. The other, headed by Hamas, is a large collection of gangs, terrorists, and jihadist groups in the Gaza Strip.
Neither side has any constituents who can make a deal, keep one if it were made, or even deliver on any pact with other Arabs, let alone with the Israelis. That has been true for 60 years.
In this circus, Mr. Abbas has been nothing but a convenient distraction. Since his days as a gofer for the unlamented Yasser Arafat, he has never commanded anyone.
But he looks good in a suit. And he issues great “orders.”