Salam Fayyad: We are going to work on the Roadmap Phase I

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad — who actually lives in a Palestinian suburb that is still within the Jerusalem muncipality, who is reputed to be a technocrat reformer because he previously worked for the International Monetary Fund, and who says that Hamas is “alien” to Palestinian culture — insists, according to today’s Haaretz, that “a Palestinian-American-Israeli commission on implementing the first stage of the road map peace plan will soon begin work … According to Fayad Thursday, the commission will consist of himself, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. security coordinator Keith Dayton. Israeli officials, however, said that while the creation of such a commission was discussed during last week’s visit by U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, neither its composition nor its powers have been finalized. Israel would apparently prefer the commission not to have the power to make binding decisions on who should do what first”.

Lt. General Keith Dayton has been working on beefing up Palestinian security forces. Rumors that he had shipped large quantities of armaments to Fatah forces in Gaza last spring — to use against Hamas, among others — played a major factor in the Hamas decision to move against Fatah and take control of Gaza in mid-June. Now, Hadley’s back. (He never left, actually, but he was rather invisible for a while, as the implications of what had happened in Gaza were being absorbed, and a certain amount of criticism was levelled at the American attempt to arm one Palestinian group against another.)

Hadley has been a prime mover in the Ramallah decision to deploy hundreds of Palestinian policemen in Nablus. On Friday, 300 Palestinian police were deployed in Nablus, according to the Ma’an Palestinian news agency — which added that “The Palestinian security services are facing a complex situation in Nablus. There are still 37 members of the Palestinian resistance being hunted by Israeli forces within the city”.

Kol Israel Radio reported Friday evening that it is “the first time Palestinian security forces have been allowed to deploy in the West Bank since 2002” — when the IDF reoccupied major West Bank cities, and launched a barely-restrained assault on the Palestinian Presidential headquarters compound, the Muqata’a, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

In its report, Ma’an noted that “The Israeli daily newspaper Ma’ariv reported that the agreement on the return of hundreds of police and Palestinian security to Nablus had been drawn up a month and a half ago when Fayyad met Barak and asked him for permission to deploy 500 members of the security services to the city. According to Ma’ariv the Palestinian policemen will have jurisdiction in Nablus during the day but this will pass to the Israeli army during the night”.
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