1st Quarter 2005
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas is reported to have given orders today for members of the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades be incorporated into the PA security services. Members of other illegal militias are expected to be put on the payroll in the future.
Will the world community insist that the Palestinians actually disarm and break up the illegal militias or will it succumb to the temptation to achieve instant compliance by simply putting them all on the PA payroll?
Palestinian officials have consistently embraced this "payroll solution", a program that would result in not only keeping the terrorists armed and well fed but also provide them with the opportunity to increase their influence on the ostensibly professional Palestinian security forces.
After all, senior Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Tanzim terrorists aren't going to come in as buck privates - they will be officers. And the men they bring in, steeped in both ideological fervor and basking in the glory of past battles, will have no trouble turning the PA security forces into a wing of Hamas/ al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades/Tanzim.
Egypt also strongly supports this approach in Gaza with a minor twist: it wants to build up a political conglomerate from all Palestinians streams in Gaza that will take responsibility for security matters. Under the Egyptian plan the various illegal militias don't even have to formally shed their affiliations for the sake of appearance as they unite under a joint command and draw salaries and arm with even more weapons financed by the international community.
If the purpose of the exercise is to put a check mark on the Palestinian's Road Map "Do List" in order to move on to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian terror state in temporary borders then the "payroll solution" is the way to go.
But if one is serious about the Road Map requirements these gunmen have to be disarmed and their organizations broken up. Period.
That doesn't mean that the international community can't help assist in providing gainful employment for the disarmed militiamen. The opposite is the case. In fact, perhaps one of the greatest contributions the London Conference could make would be to formulate a program to insure that these tens of thousands of illegal militiamen are satisfactorily integrated and absorbed into the civilian working force.Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
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