From FoxNews: Abbas Threatens Militants With 'Iron Fist'.
[Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud] Abbas has been under heavy pressure from Israel and the United States to rein in Palestinian militants, who had a relatively free hand under Abbas' predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat. But so far, Abbas has preferred to negotiate with the armed groups.
Abbas last month won the agreement of most militant groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to observe a truce with Israel. While there has been a sharp drop in violence, militants have fired several rockets at Jewish settlements in Gaza and an Israeli border town in recent days. ...
Abbas said such violence cannot be tolerated.
"Whoever wants to sabotage [the truce] with rocket fire or shooting must be stopped by us, even if that requires using force," Abbas said. "There is a national consensus regarding the calm, and whoever leaves this consensus will be struck by an iron fist." ...
The biggest militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have largely honored the truce. Hamas appears to be focusing its efforts on Palestinian legislative elections scheduled in July, though earlier this week it rejected Abbas' call to give up its weapons after the vote.
"Largely honored the truce"? Either they did or they didn't honor the truce. The "largely" indicates that they didn't. Charles Johnson notes articles about violence and attempted violence that has taken place just today: Cease Fire, Palestinian Style.
In an interview in Tel Aviv this week, a senior military source told United Press International that the militant Palestinian groups' leaders and operational commanders assume the calming-down period -- or tahadiyah in Arabic -- will not last long. ...
The source noted that in talks in Cairo, militants committed themselves to maintain quiet this year, but their plans say they must prepare for the day after.
Members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade "whose commitments are conditional" want to resume fighting, the source said. The groups are arming, recruiting, training and planning for the next round of fighting, the senior officer said. Thousands of guns, including Kalashnikov assault rifles and handguns, are smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Prices have dropped, indicating some of the demand has been met. Other weapons include rocket-propelled grenades, explosives, anti-tank rockets and probably Strella anti-aircraft missiles, the source said. ...
Palestinian police released a Hamas rocket squad operative Tuesday, despite a pledge to get tough with those who break a non-formal cease-fire with Israel.
The release came after intervention by outraged Hamas leaders and Egyptian diplomats. The suspect was set free even though he and two other Hamas terrorists had fired at officers during Monday night’s arrest, and a rocket launcher and firearms were found in the gunmen’s car.
Israeli officials said the incident underscores the failure of Abbas’ attempt to confront the terror groups.
And Daniel Pipes has an excellent new editorial: Hamas vs. America.
The Bush administration’s push for quick democracy in the Middle East has an increasingly clear implication: if Islamist organizations such as Hamas are to be likely electoral winners, Western powers should stop classifying them as terrorists and instead come to terms with them.
This conclusion follows from such efforts as those led by Alastair Crooke and his Conflicts Forum; the European Union’s exploration of opening a dialogue with the Islamists; and an astonishing statement in which the White House spokesman referred to Hamas members as “business professionals.”
Before this whitewashing of Hamas proceeds, it bears noting that the organization has not just murdered over four hundred Israelis but also prepared itself for war with America.
As Charles says, read it all.
Posted by Forkum at April 28, 2005 08:18 PM