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Monday, April 23, 2007

Al Jazeera English - News

Al Jazeera English - News:
Palestinian minister 'resigns'




Al-Qawasmi said he had become frustrated with the lack of progress in carrying out reforms [AFP]

The Palestinian interior minister has submitted his resignation after just one month in office because little progress has been made to reform the security services, officials have said.
However, Ismail Haniya of Hamas, the Palestinian prime minister, reportedly refused to accept Hani al-Qawasmi's resignation on Monday.




"He submitted his resignation to the prime minister but the latter refused and asked him to remain in his post," Ghazi Hamad, a government spokesman, said.
Al-Qawasmi's threat to step down was to be discussed at a Cabinet meeting later on Monday.







Security reforms
Earlier this month, the Palestinian cabinet approved a plan proposed by al-Qawasmi to reform the security forces and fight growing lawlessness in the Palestinian territories.
However, al-Qawasmi complained that little progress was made towards carrying out these reforms and said that he was not given sufficient decision-making powers, Haniya's aide, Mohammed Madhoun, was quoted as saying.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Haniya chose al-Qawasmi because he is seen as a political independent, not affiliated to either Hamas or Fatah.
Al Jazeera's Nour Odeh in Gaza says that Palestinian security institutions are in a "state of crisis."
"All the factions know that a lot of money is needed for reform but that cannot happen until the international boycott of the Palestinian government ends."
Factions grow
In his first act after the unity government was formed on March 17, Abbas appointed Mohammad Dahlan of Fatah as national security adviser, a move criticised by Hamas.
Some Palestinian analysts saw the appointment of Dahlan as a bid to sideline al-Qawasmi, an academic with no experience in security matters, minimising his control over the security services, which are mostly loyal to Fatah.
Both sides said the unity government deal was meant to end factional fighting.
But tensions between Hamas and Fatah have remained high and sporadic violence has continued, particularly in Gaza.
Hamas has meanwhile been expanding its own "executive force", and has rejected demands by Fatah that it be disbanded or integrated into the overall security apparatus.
Fatah also has been bolstering its force and the US has begun a $59-million programme to support Abbas's presidential guard, and Fatah recently sent about 500 fighters to Egypt for more advanced training.

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