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Saturday, August 13, 2005 

The weakling dictator

Another example of how Mahmoud Abbas is truly not in charge of his own gang:
Dozens of members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, some of them armed, stormed into a government building in the West Bank on Saturday to demand jobs, witnesses said.

The incident in the town of Qalqilya was another sign of growing lawlessness and frustration at lack of economic opportunities in the Palestinian territories.

"We belong to Fatah. We ask you to leave your offices. The offices will be closed until our demands for employment are met. Our protest is peaceful so far," one of the Fatah members told the employees, who complied immediately.

The Fatah men then closed the offices with chains and locks and departed, leaving several members of the group behind to guard the building. Police did not intervene.

Abbas was elected in January to replace the late Yasser Arafat.

He promised during the presidential campaign to boost employment and recruit into Palestinian Authority institutions gunmen who have confronted Israeli forces during a 4-1/2-year-old uprising. Promised jobs are yet to materialize.
Hat tip: Gindy.

Update: at the same time, it's worth noting this item from late April: The Jerusalem Post reports that Arab journalists are boycotting a meeting of Mahmoud Abbas, after his "police" forces acted violently towards them at an earlier one.
The journalists were invited to cover Abbas's morning visit to the police headquarters, known as the Yasser Arafat Police Compound. They complained that while they were waiting for Abbas to arrive, some policemen started pushing them in a violent manner and cursing them.

In response, the journalists left the compound, announcing that they would boycott coverage of events related to Abbas's activities. The journalists also refused to cover the weekly meeting of the PA cabinet, which was held in Gaza City.

"The policemen beat us for no reason," a local photographer told The Jerusalem Post. "That's why we left the area. This is not the first time that the police have attacked journalists in the Gaza Strip."
So on the one hand, he's not in charge, yet at the same time, he's quite willing to attack journalists when he wants to, and the gang will certainly comply with that.

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