Did Aqaba Matter?

(Jerusalem Post) Khaled Abu Toameh - Palestinian factions were united in describing Abbas's denunciation of terrorism and his pledge to end the armed intifada as a crossing of red lines. Angry viewers from all over the Arab world phoned al-Jazeera and other TV stations to condemn Abbas, describing him as a "U.S.-made quisling," an "Israeli collaborator," and a "traitor." Even the Palestinian media, which are fully controlled by Arafat and his aides, joined the chorus. What should be most worrying for Abbas is Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. If even his political allies in Fatah are openly challenging him, how can he be expected to rein in his rivals in Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Abbas and his minister for security affairs, Muhammad Dahlan, were hoping to strike a deal with the Aksa Brigades, according to which its members would voluntarily surrender (or sell) their weapons to the PA and join a new Palestinian security force. The Brigades have emphatically turned down Abbas's offer, insisting on pursuing their attacks against Israel.

2003-06-16 00:00:00

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