Home>News Center>World

Palestinian PM presents resignation, Arafat refuses
Updated: 2004-07-17 22:09

Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia submitted his resignation Saturday to Yasser Arafat, plunging the Palestinian government into crisis, but Arafat rejected it, a top official said.

The resignation came as Qureia and Arafat discussed a shake-up of security forces during a rapidly deteriorating security situation in the Gaza Strip. Six people, including the national police chief and four French charity workers, were briefly kidnapped in Gaza a day earlier.

Saeb Erakat, a Palestinian Cabinet minister, said Qureia told members of the legislative council that he submitted his resignation to Arafat, but that the Palestinian leader refused to accept it.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia during a meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2004. Qureia called the situation in Gaza 'a true disaster' Saturday after leader Yasser Arafat declared a state of emergency in response to a wave a kidnappings. Later in the day Qureia handed over his resignation, which was not accepted by Arafat. Arafat agreed Saturday to consolidate his security forces into three branches, a key international demand for reform, a top aide said. [AP]
Qureia's resignation followed the announcement that Arafat was replacing his national security chief and his national police chief, in addition to consolidating the Palestinian Authority's disparate security forces into three services — a key international demand for reform.

Qureia, also known as Abu Ala, was appointed in September 2003, when the first prime minister of the Palestinian government, Mahmoud Abbas, quit after just four months on the job.

Arafat's rejection of Qureia's resignation left his status uncertain, and it was unclear whether Qureia would continue to lead the government.

The prime minister, one of the main negotiators of the 1993 Oslo peace agreement with Israel that created the Palestinian Authority, proved incapable of asserting his authority over the official security services or over the militant groups which led attacks against Israel in the Palestinian territories and in Israel itself.

Unlike his predecessor, Qureia never met Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or other top Israeli cabinet officials.

Early Saturday, Arafat's National Security Council declared a state of emergency and sent troops to protect government buildings and officials from militant factions.

There have been several shake-ups of the Palestinian security services since the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian fighting nearly four years ago, but none lived up to the international community's expectations for reform.

However, the latest realignment appeared to be more sweeping than any previous attempt.

The Palestinian government declared an emergency after Police Chief Ghazi Jabali and another senior security officer were seized by militants Friday and later released.

Four French charity workers also were abducted and held for several hours, as militants made an apparent show of force before the announced withdrawal of Israeli forces and thousands of settlers from the Gaza Strip.

"This is a true disaster," Qureia said Saturday outside his offices before meeting Arafat. "This is a level of chaos that we have never seen before."

Egypt and the quartet of international peacemakers — the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union — have been pressing Arafat to bring rival security factions under unified control. More than a dozen security branches now operate in the areas, often fighting each other.

An Egyptian plan specifically called for the streamlining of the services into three branches in Gaza and the West Bank.

Arafat aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said the security forces would be the national police, public security forces and intelligence.

Mousa Arafat, who has been with his first cousin since the early days of the Palestinian national struggle in 1965, replaced Abdel Razzak Al-Majaideh as national security chief. Al-Majaideh was considered ineffectual.

The Palestinian leader also appointed Saeb al-Ajez as the new police chief for the West Bank and Gaza, replacing Jabali who has been widely accused of corruption.

The chief of intelligence was not immediately named.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

China to wage people's war against porn websites



Six Nobel winners named top science gurus



US delays seeking charges for ex-soldier



China to launch research station in Arctic



Sex slave sights subject of debate



Extreme weather takes toll across nation


  Palestinian PM presents resignation, Arafat refuses
  Singapore's Lee set to take over as PM on Aug 12
  Killers gouge out eyes of Jordanian driver in Iraq
  Iraqi justice minister escapes suicide bomb attack
  US delays seeking charges for ex-soldier
  Parents mourn after Indian school fire kills 90
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Palestinian gov't in chaos amid abductions
Israelis kill 6 Palestinians in north Gaza clashes
Mediators tell Palestinians to reform or lose aid
  News Talk  
  Will Saddam Hussein get a fair trial?