Bad Start in Gaza

(Washington Post) Editorial - * Only days after the final withdrawal of Israeli forces, the Gaza Strip is on the verge of anarchy. Despite promises to impose law and order, the Palestinian Authority has allowed mobs of looters and armed extremists to rampage through former Jewish settlements, where they have burned or bulldozed synagogues left standing by Israel. * Many of the valuable greenhouses that, with the generous help of international donors, were saved for use by the Palestinians have been stripped of equipment as police stood by and watched. * Despite a formal agreement with Israel to maintain security, Egypt has allowed thousands of Palestinians to illegally cross its border, including rifle-brandishing militants. If it is not quickly checked, the disorder will destroy Palestinian hopes that the Gaza transfer will become a step toward statehood. * This week's events further undermine the claim of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he can impose democratic rule of law in Gaza without directly confronting armed extremist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. * Unless Palestinian and Egyptian leaders take immediate steps to fulfill their commitments in Gaza, they will bear the responsibility for a new stalemate - or worse - in the Middle East.

2005-09-15 00:00:00

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