PA bans Palestinians from carrying "unlicensed" weapons (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 01/27/05 23:31)
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Citing a sharp rise in crime and lawlessness in Palestinian Authority-
controlled areas, the PA on Thursday issued an order banning
Palestinians from carrying "unlicensed" weapons.
Similar orders had been issued by the PA on numerous occasions in the
past, but were never implemented.
Thursday´s order was issued by PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei in his
capacity as chairman of the National Security Council, a body that
consists of commanders of all the security forces and a number of top
However, the new order did not specify whether the PA security forces
would also be asked to disarm Hamas and other armed groups.
Qurei also decided to ban off-duty policemen from carrying weapons
following complaints that some had been involved in criminal
At the meeting of the National Security Council here, a decision was
also taken to retire more than 1,000 security officers in order to
pave the way for incorporating younger policemen in the PA security
The latest decisions underscore PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas´s
determination to put an end to the state of chaos and lawlessness
prevalent in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Abbas left Ramallah on Thursday for a tour that would take him to a
number of Arab and European countries to seek backing for his new
Also on Thursday, Abbas instructed the PA´s mufti to look into the
cases of 51 Palestinians who had been sentenced to death for their
involvement in murder and a variety of crimes.
The executions cannot take place without the approval of the mufti
and the chairman of the PA. Fatah leader Abbas Zaki said the decision
to refer the cases to the mufti meant that the executions could take
place as early as next month.
Among those on the death row are several Palestinians convicted
of "collaboration" with Israel.
Zaki explained that the decision was needed to restore Palestinians´
confidence in their fledgling judicial system and to protect them
against an unprecedented upsurge in crime.
Sources in Ramallah said Abbas and Qurei agreed to appoint former
security chief Nasser Yousef as interior minister in charge of all
the PA security forces. Yousef, who will replace incumbent interior
minister Hakam Balawi, played a key role in a massive crackdown on
Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in the Gaza Strip in 1996.
Both Abbas and Qurei had in the past tried to bring Yousef into their
cabinets, but were turned down by Yasser Arafat.
Former security minister Mohammed Dahlan, who is also expected to
play a key role in the new PA cabinet, told reporters that he would
meet with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz soon.
Dahlan said the meeting would discuss the release of Palestinian
prisoners held in Israel and handing control of West Bank cities to
"President Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei had given clear
orders to the heads of the security forces to prepare for taking over
security in five West Bank cities - Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarem,
Bethlehem and Jericho," he said. (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post
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