PNA will be the sole Gaza administrator– after Israeli pull-out, says PLO


THE Palestine National Authority will be the sole administrator of the Gaza Strip after the Israeli withdrawal in August, the Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee has confirmed.

Following its meeting in Gaza last week the PLO EC urged all factions to commit to the truce and to unify their efforts to guarantee a complete Israeli pullout.

It also reiterated its rejection of Palestinian in-fighting, declaring that ‘Palestinian blood is sacred’.

The PLO ‘confirms that the PNA shall solely be responsible for the administration of the Gaza Strip through the Council of Ministers and the competent departments, institutions and cabinet ministries,’ the PLO EC declared.

The meeting, which was chaired by President Mahmoud Abbas and attended by Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei, refused proposals and initiatives to create a ‘special administration’ for the Strip after the planned Israeli withdrawal late in August.

It reiterated that the PNA shall solely ‘have the national and legal roles’ in all the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) pull out from.

The PLO said it is important to unify the ‘efforts of all groups and factions to guarantee the complete Israeli withdrawal from all the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank.’

It declared its appreciation for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s initiative of dispatching a high-level delegation to help arrange for the Israeli withdrawal process.

It reconfirmed ‘the commitment by all Palestinians to the Cairo Declaration, and averting individual faction retaliation to Israeli ongoing assassinations of Palestinian activists’.

The PLO called on the Higher Follow-up Committee of the 13 anti-occupation factions to work towards ending any possible ‘misunderstanding’ among ‘the sons of the same cause’.

The PLO welcomed contributions by all factions to the national cause ‘through the legislative, local and municipal elections’ under ‘the rule of law and order’.

Final rounds of Palestinian local elections will be held in 132 municipalities across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on September 29, followed by a final batch of local districts on December 8. However a date has yet to be set for the parliamentary elections.

The PLO reconfirmed also that ‘the Palestinian blood is sacred,’ amid clashes that wounded at least 25 Palestinians during two days last week.

Media reported on Wednesday that five Palestinians were wounded in renewed clashes in the Gaza Strip, only hours after an agreement was announced to end inter-Palestinian violence.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the new clashes were ‘limited’ and erupted between the PNA security forces and the Islamic movement’s military wing.

Sofian Abu Zayda for Fatah and Nizar Rayan for Hamas announced in Gaza late on Tuesday an agreement to end factional violence between followers of the ruling movement and the opposition Islamic Resistance Movement.

Abu Zayda told reporters at a joint press conference after midnight that, ‘we are very pleased to inform you that an agreement has been reached between the two movements to end all kinds of violent confrontations as well as removing all phenomena of arms in the streets’.

‘Both movements reached the agreement one hour ago, and me and Dr Nizar Rayan toured the northern area of the Gaza Strip, and we found an amazing commitment by both sides to our agreement,’ said Abu Zayda.

Rayan confirmed Abu Zayda’s staement: ‘I repeat what my brother Sofian said.

‘We met in good moods and good atmosphere, and we put together points for this agreement, which is immediately ending fighting and removing all phenomena of arms.’

He added that commanders of the two movements were immediately contacted and they had warmly welcomed the agreement ‘and started immediately implementing it’.

Two teenage bystanders had been killed during gun battles between the two sides the previous Friday and then on Tuesday, 10 Palestinians were injured in exchanges of fire at Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Earlier, at least 12 more were hurt in similar incidents in the impoverished Jabaliya refugee camp, east of Gaza City.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, some 700 people took to the streets to call for national unity and an end to the security chaos in the occupied territories.

Reacting to the violence, Palestinian Prime Minister Qurei said on Tuesday that there could be no justification for the clashes.

‘There can no be excuse or justification for what has happened today. Palestinian blood is sacred and should not be spilled at the hands of fellow Palestinians.’

Speaking to reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting Qurei said: ‘I ask all the factions to respect and commit themselves to the rule of law.’

Similarly the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) last Tuesday condemned the clashes and called on all factions, particularly Hamas, to commit to the Cairo ‘understandings’.