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Saturday, July 17, 2004

Coming to a Boil?

It's hard to imagine the situation in Gaza deteriorating any further (though it is somewhat less difficult to imagine the violence and growing instability to spread to the West Bank), but I fear we're about to see just that. A state of emergency has been declared by the Palestinian Authority, Arafat ousted the Gaza police chief and installed one of his (Arafat's) cousins in the position, Prime Minister Qurie resigned today, and a wave of kidnappings has swept Gaza. Whether this is a sign of Hamas and other Gaza-centric groups taking up the tactic of the Iraqi insurgents and Saudi al Qaeda remains to be seen. For the most part, hostages have been captured and then released a few hours later. News comes this morning of Qurie's resignation and Arafat's plan to "consolidate" his security forces.

From Reuters:

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie submitted his resignation to President Yasser Arafat on Saturday after complaining of unprecedented chaos in Gaza following kidnappings by gunmen demanding reforms.

Arafat refused to accept Qurie's resignation and the prime minister convened the cabinet to discuss his next moves, Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erekat said.

A sense of growing anarchy gripped the Gaza Strip, where militants calling for anti-corruption measures in the security services abducted four French aid workers and two Palestinian officials, including the area's police chief, on Friday....

...Speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, before news of his resignation, Qurie said Gaza -- where the Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency -- was in "an unprecedented state of chaos."

Unprecedented chaos in Gaza is no good at all.The fully and exhaustively precedented chaos was bad enough.

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