International

Do they mean it this time?

Palestinian police have taken a few preliminary actions— making some arrests, seizing some arms, sealing some tunnels from Egypt– in response to the pressure following the murderous attack in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

As Israelis say, we’ve seen this film before. So are Palestinian authorites serious this time about cracking down on terrorists? Or are they just going through the motions, as they’ve done so often in the past?

It would be nice to think that the latest power struggle between Yasser Arafat, Prime Minister Mahmous Abbas and security chief Mohammed Dahlan will settle the matter once and for all. But it probably won’t.

The Associated Press reports:

International mediators now want Arafat to relinquish control of the security forces and allow Abbas and Dahlan to clamp down on militants, in response to a Hamas bus bombing that killed 21 people in Jerusalem last week. Arafat continues to command several of the security branches, while Abbas and Dahlan supervise the rest.

Instead of giving up control over armed men, Arafat proposed Saturday to pass the supreme command to Nasser Yousef, a staunch Arafat loyalist. Such an appointment would effectively sideline Dahlan.

As long as Arafat retains ultimate control, it’s hard to be optimistic, even if some illusory face-saving “compromise” is worked out.

Update: The Israeli army chief of staff said the Palestinian Authority is taking concrete actions against terror. So that’s something.

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