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Dahlan warns prisoner release not enough (JERUSALEM POST) By LAMIA LAHOUD 07/29/03) Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1059361967532
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Palestinian Authority Minister of State for Security Muhammad Dahlan warned that the prisoner release issue would destroy the hudna and the positive feeling following his and PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas´s US visit, if Israel continues to refuse to coordinate with the PA the names of those it plans to release.
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His comments came as the US administration welcomed Israel´s decision to free some 540 Palestinian prisoners, including 210 affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
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Dahlan said Israel included 120 petty criminals not security and political prisoners in the list of Palestinians slated for release from Israeli prisons. "If they want to play games with us... and if they continue to refuse to coordinate the release of prisoners with us, the prisoner issue will ruin everything," he told The Jerusalem Post.
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Dahlan met with CIA director George Tenet and other US officials, and presented his security plan.
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A PA official said the US accepted Dahlan´s plan, in which he said he would take measures against those who violate the hudna, and stop the smuggling of weapons. Dahlan also outlined the measures he intends to take in the future once the Palestinian population starts to reap the advantages of the road map, the official added.
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At the same time, Dahlan explained his and Abbas´s difficulties, and tried to convince the US that he cannot take measures against the terrorist infrastructure unless Israel bends on the release of Palestinian prisoners, and starts to implement its part of the road map.
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Israel argues that the PA is still not willing to take measures against the terrorist infrastructure, and says terrorist organizations are using the cease-fire to smuggle weapons into PA areas, and train and recruit terrorists.
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Dahlan will meet later this week with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to discuss the handover of two more West Bank cities to the PA.
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Meanwhile, a senior Fatah official told Itim yesterday that Abbas would not be "redeemed on his return from the US unless he arrives at [PA Chairman Yasser] Arafat´s bureau and tells him that the Americans promised that the siege on the Mukata would be lifted," or else "the smile that was on his face at the press conference would cost him dearly."
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Arafat and his advisers are not interested in the removal of roadblocks in Palestinian villages and towns, and only want the removal of the siege on Arafat, the official said.
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Muhammad Hourani, a Fatah legislator, said he believes the siege on Arafat will be lifted in the future. More important is easing the closure on the Palestinian people and removing checkpoints, he said.
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Hourani said Abbas will not face a no-confidence vote from the Palestinian Legislative Council, since most legislators realize that he managed to improve US-Palestinian relations and get the US administration involved in the peace process again.
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According to one PA minister, "Apart from those who always nag, everybody agrees that Abu Mazen´s [Abbas´s] visit to the United States was successful in many aspects."
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A Fatah source said there were some Arafat loyalists who wanted to undermine Abbas´s achievements in the US by highlighting that he was unable to convince the US and Israel to lift the siege on Arafat. "They fear that Abbas will be able to deliver real progress to the people, which would undermine Arafat," he said. (© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 07/29/03)
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