Monday, September 29, 2003

New PA Cabinet, Separation Fence, Muhammad Dahlan

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, aka Abu Ala, has named his Cabinet, which will now go for approval before the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Cabinet is stocked with Arafat people, as well as one Hamas supporter, which suggests Arafat is trying to co-opt rather than confront the militants politically. Unfortunately this will cause him to take a harder line in peace negotiations, and probably allow terrorist groups to strengthen themselves in the territories.

In other news, Ariel Sharon announced the "separation fence" would eventually enclose the West Bank settlement of Ariel, despite the fact this will cut through territory most of the world considers Palestinian. However, Israel has changed plans to have the fence cut through the heart of the al-Quds University campus, where it would have run through the basketball court, soccer field, and some parking. A new route in that area is forthcoming.

Finally, long-time readers may remember my close tracking of Muhammad Dahlan, Abu Mazen's security czar and the man Arafat really didn't want involved in the government. (here, here, and here) His supporters protested today in Gaza, burning Arafat aides in effigy, while Dahlan himself told a Lebanese newspaper the Intifada was a mistake.


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